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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 

GIFT OF 

Walter 0. Schneider 



COLLECTED EDITION 

OF THE 

NOVELS AND TALES 

BY 

THE EIGHT HONOEABLE 
B. DISEAELI. 

VOL. V. VENETIA. 



LOSDO1C: P3I3TTED BY 

6POTTISWOODB AND CO.. W1TW-STBEET SQUAE5 
AITD PABlIAitKJT 8TBKB7 



VENETIA. 



EIGHT HONORABLE B. DISRAELI. 



' Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child ? ' 

' The child of love, though born in bitterness 
And nurtured in convulsion.' 



NEW EDITION. 



LONDON : 
LONGMANS, OKEEN, AND CO. 

1871. 



All rights reserved. 



College 
Library 



V55" 

TO |g7( 

LORD LYNDHUBST. 



IN happier hours, when I first mentioned to you the idea 
of this Work, it was my intention, while inscribing it with 
your name, to have entered into some details as to the 
principles which had guided me in its composition, and 
the feelings with which I had attempted to shadow forth, 
though as 'in a glass darkly,' two of the most renowned 
and refined spirits that have adorned these our latter days. 
But now I will only express a hope that the time may 
come when, in these pages, you may find some relaxation 
from the cares, and some distraction from the sorrows, 
of existence, and that you will then receive this dedication 

as a record of my respect and my affection. 

A. 



1116971 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



This Work was first published in the year 1837. 



VENETIA. 



CHAPTER I. 

SOME ten years before the revolt of our American colonies, 
there was situate in one of our midland counties, on the 
borders of an extensive forest, an ancient hall that belonged 
to the Herberts, but which, though ever well preserved, had 
not until that period been visited by any member of the 
family, since the exile of the Stuarts. It was an edifice of 
considerable size, built of grey stone, much covered with 
ivy, and placed upon the last gentle elevation of a long ridge 
of hills, in the centre of a crescent of woods, that far over- 
topped its clusters of tall chimneys and turreted gables. 
Although the principal chambers were on the first story, 
you could nevertheless step forth from their windows on a 
broad terrace, whence you descended into the gardens by a 
double flight of stone steps, exactly in the middle of its 
length. These gardens were of some extent, and filled with 
evergreen shrubberies of remarkable overgrowth, while- 
occasionally turfy vistas, cut in the distant woods, came 
sloping down to the south, as if they opened to receive th& 
sunbeam that greeted the genial aspect of the mansion. 
The ground-floor was principally occupied by the hall itself, 
which was of great dimensions, hung round with many a 
family portrait and rural picture, furnished with long oaken 
seats covered with scarlet cushions, and ornamented with 
a parti-coloured floor of alternate diamonds of black and 
white marble. From the centre of the roof of the mansion, 

B 



2 VENETIA. 

which was always covered with pigeons, rose the clock- 
tower of the chapel, surmounted by a vane ; and before the 
mansion itself was a large plot of grass, with a fountain in 
the centre, surrounded by a hedge of honeysuckle. 

This plot of grass was separated from an extensive park, 
that opened in front of the hall, by tall iron gates, on each 
of the pillars of which was a lion rampant supporting the 
escutcheon of the family. The deer wandered in this en- 
closed and well- wooded demesne, and about a mile from the 
mansion, in a direct line with the iron gates, was an old- 
fashioned lodge, which marked the limit of the park, and 
from which you emerged into a fine avenue of limes bounded 
on both sides by fields. At the termination of this avenue 
was a strong but simple gate, and a woodman's cottage ; 
and then spread before you a vast landscape of open, wild 
lands, which seemed on one side interminable, while on the 
other the eye rested on the dark heights of the neighbour- 
ing forest. 

This picturesque and secluded abode was the residence 
of Lady Annabel Herbert and her daughter, the young and 
beautiful Venetia, a child, at the time when our history 
commences, of very tender age. It was nearly seven years 
since Lady Annabel and her infant daughter had sought 
the retired shades of Cherbury, which they had never since 
quitted. They lived alone and for each other ; the mother 
educated her child, and the child interested her mother by 
her affectionate disposition, the development of a mind of 
no ordinary promise, and a sort of captivating grace and 
charming playfulness of temper, which were extremely 
delightful. Lady Annabel was still young and lovely. That 
she was wealthy her establishment clearly denoted, and 
she was a daughter of one of the haughtiest houses in the 
kingdom. It was strange then that, with all the brilliant 
accidents of birth, and beauty, and fortune, she should still, 
as it were in the morning of her life, have withdrawn to 
this secluded mansion, in a county where she was personally 
unknown, distant from the metropolis, estranged from all 



VENETIA. 3 

her own relatives and connexions, and without the resource 
of even a single neighbour, for the only place of importance 
in her vicinity was uninhabited. The general impression 
of the villagers was that Lady Annabel was a widow ; and 
yet there were some speculators who would shrewdly re- 
mark, that her ladyship had never worn weeds, although 
her husband could not have been long dead when she first 
arrived at Cherbury. On the whole, however, these good 
people were not very inquisitive ; and it was fortunate for 
them, for there was h'ttle chance and slight means of gra- 
tifying their curiosity. The whole of the establishment had 
been formed at Cherbury, with the exception of her lady- 
ship's waiting- woman, Mistress Pauncefort, and she was by 
far too great a personage to condescend to reply to any ques- 
tion which was not made to her by Lady Annabel herself. 

The beauty of the young Venetia was not the hereditary 
gift of her beautiful mother. It was not from Lady Annabel 
that Venetia Herbert had derived those seraphic locks that 
fell over her shoulders and down her neck in golden streams, 
nor that clear grey eye even, whose childish glance might 
perplex the gaze of manhood, nor that little aquiline nose, 
that gave a haughty expression to a countenance that had 
never yet dreamed of pride, nor that radiant complexion, 
that dazzled with its brilliancy, like some winged minister 
of Raffael or Correggio. The peasants that passed the lady 
and her daughter in their walks, and who blessed her as 
they passed, for all her grace and goodness, often marvelled 
why so fair a mother and so fair a child should be so dissi- 
milar, that one indeed might be compared to a starry night, 
and the other to a sunny day. 



CHAPTER H. 

IT was a bright and soft spring morning : the dewy vistas 
of Cherbury sparkled in the sun, the cooing of the pigeons 
sounded around, the peacocks strutted about the terrace 

B2 



4 VENETIA. 

and spread their tails with infinite enjoyment and conscious 
pride, and Lady Annabel came forth with her little daughter, 
to breathe the renovating odours of the season. The air 
was scented with the violet, tufts of daffodils were scattered 
all about, and though the snowdrop had vanished, and the 
primroses were fast disappearing, their wild and shaggy 
leaves still looked picturesque and glad. 

' Mamma,' said the little Venetia, ' is this spring ? ' 

' This is spring, my child,' replied Lady Annabel, ' beau- 
tiful spring ! The year is young and happy, like my little 
girl.' 

' If Venetia be like the spring, mamma is like the sum- 
mer ! ' replied the child ; and the mother smiled. ' And is 
not the summer young and happy ? ' resumed Venetia. 

'It is not quite so young as the spring,' said Lady Anna- 
bel, looking down with fondness on her little companion, 
' and, I fear, not quite so happy.' 

* But it is as beautiful,' said Venetia. 

* It is not beauty that makes us happy,' said Lady Annabel ; 
' to be happy, my love, we must be good.' 

' Am I good ? ' said Veuetia. 

' Very good,' said Lady Annabel. 

' I am very happy,' said Venetia ; ' I wonder whether, if 
I be always good, I shall always be happy ? ' 

' You cannot be happy without being good, my love ; but 
happiness depends upon the will of God. If you be good he 
will guard over you.' 

'What can make me unhappy, mamma?' inquired 
Venetia. 

' An evil conscience, my love.' 

' Conscience ! ' said Venetia ; ' what is conscience ? ' 

' You are not yet quite old enough to understand,' said 
Lady Annabel, ' but some day I will teach you. Mamma 
is now going to take a long walk, and Venetia shall walk 
with her.' 

So saying, the Lady Annabel summoned Mistress Paunce- 
fort, a gentlewoman of not more discreet years than might 



VENETIA. 5 

have been expected in the attendant of so young a mistress ; 
but one well qualified for her office, very zealous and devoted, 
somewhat consequential, full of energy and decision, capable 
of directing, fond of giving advice, and habituated to com- 
mand. The Lady Annabel, leading her daughter, and ac- 
companied by her faithful bloodhound, Marmion, ascended 
one of those sloping vistas that we have noticed, Mistress 
Pauncefort following them about a pace behind, and after 
her a groom, at a respectful distance, leading Miss Herbert's 
donkey. 

They soon entered a winding path through the wood 
which was the background of their dwelling. Lady Anna- 
bel was silent, and lost in her reflections ; Venetia plucked 
the beautiful wild hyacinths that then abounded in the 
wood in such profusion, that their beds spread like patches 
of blue enamel, and gave them to Mistress Pauncefort, who, 
as the collection increased, handed them over to the groom; 
who, in turn, deposited them in the wicker seat prepared 
for his young mistress. The bright sun bursting through 
the tender foliage of the year, the clear and genial air, the 
singing of the birds, and the wild and joyous exclamations 
of Venetia, as she gathered her flowers, made it a cheerful 
party, notwithstanding the silence of its mistress. 

When they emerged from the wood, they found themselves 
on the brow of the hill, a small down, over which Venetia 
ran, exulting in the healthy breeze which, at this exposed 
height, was strong and fresh. As they advanced to the 
opposite declivity to that which they had ascended, a wide 
and peculiar landscape opened before them. The extreme 
distance was formed by an undulating ridge of lofty and 
savage hills ; nearer than these were gentler elevations, 
partially wooded ; and at their base was a rich valley, its 
green meads fed by a clear and rapid stream, which glit- 
tered in the sun as it coursed on, losing itself at length in 
a wild and sedgy lake that formed the furthest limit of a 
widely-spreading park. In the centre of this park, and not 
very remote from the banks of the rivulet, was an ancient 



6 VENETIA. 

gothic building, that had once been an abbey of great re- 
pute and wealth, and had not much suffered in its external 
character, by having served for nearly two centuries and a 
half as the principal dwelling of an old baronial family. 

Descending the downy hill, that here and there was stud- 
ded with fine old trees, enriching by their presence the view 
from the abbey, Lady Annabel and her party entered the 
meads, and, skirting the lake, approached the venerable 
walls without crossing the stream. 

It was difficult to conceive a scene more silent and more 
desolate. There was no sign of life, and not a sound save 
the occasional cawing of a rook. Advancing towards the 
abbey, they passed a pile of buildings that, in the summer, 
might be screened from sight by the foliage of a group of 
elms, too scanty at present to veil their desolation. Wide 
gaps in the roof proved that the vast and dreary stables 
were no longer used ; there were empty granaries, whose 
doors had fallen from their hinges ; the gate of the court- 
yard was prostrate on the ground ; and the silent clock that 
once adorned the cupola over the noble entrance arch, had 
long lost its index. Even the litter of the yard appeared 
dusty and grey with age. You felt sure no human foot 
could have disturbed it for years. At the back of these 
buildings were nailed the trophies of the gamekeeper : 
hundreds of wild cats, dried to blackness, stretched their 
downward heads and legs from the mouldering wall ; hawks, 
magpies, and jays hung in tattered remnants! but all 
grey, and even green, with age; and the heads of birds in 
plenteous rows, nailed beak upward, and so dried and 
shrivelled by the suns and winds and frosts of many 
seasons, that their distinctive characters were lost. 

* Do you know, my good Pauncefort,' said Lady Annabel, 
' that I have an odd fancy to-day to force an entrance into 
the old abbey. It is strange, fond as I am of this walk, 
that we have never yet entered it. Do you recollect our 
last vain efforts ? Shall we be more fortunate this time, 
think you ? ' 



VENETIA. 7 

- 

Mistress Pauncefort smiled and smirked, and, advancing 
to the old gloomy porch, gave a determined ring at the 
bell. Its sound might be heard echoing through the old 
cloisters, but a considerable time elapsed without any other 
effect being produced. Perhaps Lady Annabel would have 
now given up the attempt, but the little Venetia expressed 
so much regret at the disappointment, that her mother 
directed the groom to reconnoitre in the neighbourhood, 
and see if it were possible to discover any person connected 
with the mansion. 

* I doubt our luck, my lady,' said Mistress Pauncefort, 
' for they do say that the abbey is quite uninhabited.' 

' ' Tis a pity,' said Lady Annabel, ' for, with all its deso- 
lation, there is something about this spot which ever greatly 
interests me.' 

' Mamma, why does no one live here ? ' said Venetia. 

' The master of the abbey lives abroad, my child.' 

* Why does he, mamma ? ' 

' Never ask questions, Miss Venetia,' said Mistress 
Pauncefort, in a hushed and solemn tone ; ' it is not pretty.' 
Lady Annabel had moved away. 

The groom returned, and said he had met an old man, 
picking water-cresses, and he was the only person who 
lived in the abbey, except his wife, and she was bedridden. 
The old man had promised to admit them when he had 
completed his task, but not before, and the groom feared it 
would be some time before he arrived. 

' Come, Pauncefort, rest yourself on this bench,' said 
Lady Annabel, seating herself in the porch ; ' and Venetia, 
my child, come hither to me.' 

' Mamma,' said Venetia, ' what is the name of the gentle- 
man to whom this abbey belongs ? ' 

' Lord Cadurcis, love.' 

* I should like to know why Lord Cadurcis lives abroad?' 
said Venetia, musingly. 

' There are many reasons why persons may choose to quit 
their native country, and dwell in another, my love,' said 



8 VENETIA. 

Lady Annabel, very quietly ; ' some change the climate for 
their health.' 

1 Did Lord Cadurcis, mamma ? ' asked Venetia. 

' I do not know Lord Cadurcis, dear, or anything of him, 
excep~ tthat he is a very old man, and has no family.' 

At this moment there was a sound of bars and bolts with- 
. drawn, and the falling of a chain, and at length the massy 
door slowly opened, and the old man appeared and beckoned 
to them to enter. 

* "Pis eight years, come Martinmas, since I opened this 
door,' said the old man, ' and it sticks a bit. You must 
walk about by yourselves, for I have no breath, and my 
mistress is bedridden. There, straight down the cloister, 
you can't miss your way ; there is not much to see.' 

The interior of the abbey formed a quadrangle, sur- 
rounded by the cloisters, and in this inner court was a 
curious fountain, carved with exquisite skill by some gothio 
artist in one of those capricious moods of sportive inven- 
tion that produced those grotesque medleys for which the 
feudal sculptor was celebrated. Not a sound was heard 
except the fall of the fountain and the light echoes that its 
voice called up. 

The staircase led Lady Annabel and her party through 
several small rooms, scantily garnished with ancient furni- 
ture, in some of which were portraits of the family, until 
they at length entered a noble saloon, once the refectory of 
the abbey, and not deficient in splendour, though sadly 
soiled and worm-eaten. It was hung with tapestry repre- 
senting the Cartoons of Raffael, and their still vivid colours 
contrasted with the faded hangings and the dingy damask 
.of the chairs and sofas. A mass of Cromwellian armour 
was huddled together in a corner of a long monkish gallery, 
with a standard, encrusted with dust, and a couple of old 
drums, one broken. From one of the windows they had a 
good view of the old walled garden, which did not tempt 
them to enter it ; it was a wilderness, the walks no longer 
distinguishable from the rank vegetation of the once culti- 



VENETIA. 9 

vated lawns ; the terraces choked up with the unchecked 
shrubberies ; and here and there a leaden statue, a goddess 
or a satyr, prostrate, and covered with moss and lichen. 

' It makes me melancholy,' said Lady Annabel ; ' let us 
return.' 

' Mamma,' said Venetia, ' are there any ghosts in this 
abbey ? ' 

' You may well ask me, love,' replied Lady Annabel ; ' it 
seems a spell-bound place. But, Venetia, I have often 
told you there are no such things as ghosts.' 

' Is it naughty to believe in ghosts, mamma, for I cannot 
help believing in them ? ' 

' When you are older, and have more knowledge, you 
will not believe in them, Venetia,' replied Lady Annabel. 

Our friends left Cadurcis Abbey. Venetia mounted her 
donkey, her mother walked by her side ; the sun was be- 
ginning to decline when they again reached Cherbury, and 
the air was brisk. Lady Annabel was glad to find herself 
by her fireside in her little terrace-room, and Venetia fetch- 
ing her book, read to her mother until their dinner hour. 



CHAPTER III. 

Two serene and innocent years had glided away at Cher- 
bury since this morning ramble to Cadurcis Abbey, and 
Venetia had grown in loveliness, in goodness, and intelli- 
gence. Her lively and somewhat precocious mind had 
become greatly developed ; and, though she was only nine 
years of age, it scarcely needed the affection of a mother 
to find in her an interesting and engaging companion. 
Although feminine education was little regarded in those 
days, that of Lady Annabel had been an exception to the 
general practice of society. She had been ^brought up with 
the consciousness of other objects of female attainment and 
accomplishment than embroidery, ' the complete art of 



10 VENETIA. 

making pastry,' and reading ' The Whole Duty of Man.' 
She had profited, when a child, by the guidance of her 
brother's tutor, who had bestowed no unfruitful pains upon 
no ordinary capacity. She was a good linguist, a fine 
musician, was well read in our elder poets and their Italian 
originals, was no unskilful artist, and had acquired some 
knowledge of botany when wandering, as a girl, in her 
native woods. Since her retirement to Cherbury, reading 
had been her chief resource. The hall contained a library 
whose shelves, indeed, were more full than choice ; but, 
amid folios of theological controversy and civil law, there 
might be found the first editions of most of the celebrated 
writers of the reign of Anne, which the contemporary pro- 
prietor of Cherbury, a man of wit and fashion in his day, 
had duly collected in his yearly visits to the metropolis, and 
finally deposited in the family book-room. 

The education of her daughter was not only the principal 
duty of Lady Annabel, but her chief delight. To cultivate 
the nascent intelligence of a child, in those days, was not 
the mere piece of scientific mechanism that the admirable 
labours of so many ingenious writers have since permitted 
it comparatively to become. In those days there was no 
Mrs. Barbauld, no Madame de Genlis, no Miss Edgeworth ; 
no ' Evenings at Home,' no ' Children's Friend,' no ' Parent's 
Assistant.' Venetia loved her book ; indeed, she was never 
happier than when reading ; but she soon recoiled from 
the gilt and Lilliputian volumes of the good Mr. Newbury, 
and her mind required some more substantial excitement than 
Tom Thumb,' or even ' Goody Two-Shoes.' ' The Seven 
Champions ' was a great resource and a great favourite ; 
but it required all the vigilance of a mother to eradicate the 
false impressions which' such studies were continually mak- 
ing on so tender a student ; and to disenchant, by rational 
discussion, the fascinated imagination of her child. Lady 
Annabel endeavoured to find some substitute in the essays 
of Addison and Steele ; but they required more knowledge 
of the every-day world for their enjoyment than an infant, 



VENETIA. 11 

bred in such seclusion, could at present afford ; and at last 
Venetia lost herself in the wildering pages of Clelia and the 
Arcadia, which she pored over with a rapt and ecstatic 
spirit, that would not comprehend the warning scepticism 
of her parent. Let us picture to ourselves the high-bred 
Lady Annabel in the terrace-room of her ancient hall, work- 
ing at her tapestry, and, seated at her feet, her little daughter 
Venetia, reading aloud the Arcadia ! The peacocks have 
jumped up on the window-sill, to look at their friends, who 
love to feed them, and by their pecking have aroused the 
bloodhound crouching at Lady Annabel's feet. And Venetia 
looks up from her folio with a flushed and smiling face to 
catch the sympathy of her mother, who rewards her 
daughter's study with a kiss. Ah ! there are no such 
mothers and no such daughters now ! 

Thus it will be seen that the life and studies of Venetia 
tended rather dangerously, in spite of all the care of her 
mother, to the development of her imagination, in case in- 
deed she possessed that terrible and fatal gift. She passed 
her days in unbroken solitude, or broken only by affections 
which softened her heart, and in a scene which itself might 
well promote any predisposition of the kind ; beautiful and 
picturesque objects surrounded her on all sides ; she wan- 
dered, at it were, in an enchanted wilderness, and watched 
the deer reposing under the green shadow of stately trees ; 
the old hall itself was calculated to excite mysterious curi- 
osity ; one wing was uninhabited and shut up ; each morn- 
ing and evening she repaired with her mother and the 
household through long galleries to the chapel, where she 
knelt to her devotions, illumined by a window blazoned 
with the arms of that illustrious family of which she was 
a member, and of which she knew nothing. She had an 
indefinite and painful consciousness that she had been early 
checked in the natural inquiries which occur to every child ; 
she had insensibly been trained to speak only of what she 
saw ; and when she listened, at night, to the long ivy rust- 
ling about the windows, and the wild owls hooting about 



12 VENETIA. 

the mansion, with their pining, melancholy voices, she 
might have been excused for believing in those spirits, 
which her mother warned her to discredit ; or she for- 
got these mournful impressions in dreams, caught from 
her romantic volumes, of bright knights and beautiful 
damsels. 

Only one event of importance had occurred at Cherbury 
during these two years, if indeed that be not too strong a 
phrase to use in reference to an occurrence which occa- 
sioned so slight and passing an interest. Lord Cadurcis 
had died. He had left his considerable property to his 
natural children, but the abbey had descended with the 
title to a very distant relative. The circle at Cherbury 
had heard, and that was all, that the new lord was a minor, 
a little boy, indeed very little older than Venetia herself ; 
but this information produced no impression. The abbey 
was still deserted and desolate as ever. 



CHAPTER IV. 

EVERY Sunday afternoon, the rector of a neighbouring 
though still somewhat distant parish, of which the rich 
living was in the gift of the Herberts, came to perform 
divine service at Cherbury. It was a subject of deep regret 
to Lady Annabel that herself and her family were debarred 
from the advantage of more frequent and convenient 
spiritual consolation ; but, at this time, the parochial dis- 
cipline of the Church of England was not so strict as it 
fortunately is at present. Cherbury, though a vicarage, 
possessed neither parish church, nor a residence for the 
clergyman ; nor was there indeed a village. The peasants 
on the estate, or labourers as they are now styled, a term 
whose introduction into our rural world is much to be 
lamented, lived in the respective farmhouses on the lands 
which they cultivated. These were scattered about at 



VENETIA. 13 

considerable distances, and many of their inmates found it 
more convenient to attend the church of the contiguous 
parish than to repair to the hall chapel, where the house- 
hold and the dwellers in the few cottages scattered about 
the park and woods always assembled. The Lady Annabel, 
whose lot it had been in life to find her best consolation in 
religion, and who was influenced by not only a sincere but 
even a severe piety, had no other alternative, therefore, but 
engaging a chaplain ; but this, after much consideration, she 
had resolved not to do. She was indeed her own chaplain, 
herself performing each day such parts of our morning and 
evening service whose celebration becomes a laic, and 
reading portions from the writings of those eminent divines 
who, from the Restoration to the conclusion of the last 
reign, have so eminently distinguished the communion of 
our national Church. 

Each Sunday, after the performance of divine service, 
the Rev. Dr. Masham dined with the family, and he was 
the only guest at Cherbury Venetia ever remembered 
seeing. The Doctor was a regular orthodox divine of the 
eighteenth century ; with a large cauliflower wig, shovel- 
hat, and huge knee-buckles, barely covered by his top- 
boots ; learned, jovial, humorous, and somewhat courtly ; 
truly pious, but not enthusiastic ; not forgetful of his tithes, 
but generous and charitable when they were once paid ; 
never neglecting the sick, yet occasionally following a fox ; 
a fine scholar, an active magistrate, and a good shot ; 
dreading the Pope, and hating the Presbyterians. 

The Doctor was attached to the Herbert family not 
merely because they had given him a good living. He 
had a great reverence for an old English race, and turned 
up his nose at the Walpolian loanmongers. Lady Annabel, 
too, so beautiful, so dignified, so amiable, and highly bred, 
and, above all, so pious, had won his regard. He was not 
a little proud, too, that he was the only person in the 
county who had the honour of her acquaintance, and yet 
was disinterested enough to regret that she led so secluded 



14 VENETIA. 

a life, and often lamented that nothing would induce her to 
show her elegant person on a racecourse, or to attend an 
assize ball, an assembly which was then becoming much 
the fashion. The little Venetia was a charming child, and 
the kind-hearted Doctor, though a bachelor, loved children. 

! matre pulchrd, filia pulchrior, 

was the Rev. Dr. Masham's apposite and favourite quota- 
tion after his weekly visit to Cherbury. 

Divine service was concluded ; the Doctor had preached 
a capital sermon ; for he had been one of the shining lights 
of his university until his rich but isolating preferment had 
apparently closed the great career which it was once sup- 
posed awaited him. The accustomed walk on the terrace 
was completed, and dinner was announced. This meal was 
always celebrated at Cherbury, where new fashions stole 
down with a lingering pace, in the great hall itself. An 
ample table was placed in the centre on a mat of rushes, 
sheltered by a large screen covered with huge maps of the 
shire and the neighbouring counties. The Lady Annabel 
and her good pastor seated themselves at each end of the 
table, while Venetia, mounted on a high chair, was waited 
on by Mistress Pauncefort, who never condescended by any 
chance attention to notice the presence of any other indi- 
vidual but her little charge, on whose chair she just leaned 
with an air of condescending devotion. The butler stood 
behind his lady, and two other servants watched the Doctor ; 
rural bodies all, but decked on this day in gorgeous livery 
coats of blue and silver, which had been made originally 
for men of very different size and bearing. Simple as was 
the usual diet at Cherbury the cook was permitted on 
Sunday full play to her art, which, in the eighteenth 
century, indulged in the production of dishes more nume- 
rous and substantial than our refined tastes could at present 
tolerate. The Doctor appreciated a good dinner, and his 
countenance glistened with approbation as he surveyed the 
ample tureen of potage royal, with a boned duck swimming 



YENETIA. 15 

in its centre. Before him still scowled in death the grim 
countenance of a huge roast pike, flanked on one side by a 
leg of mutton a-la-daube, and on the other by the tempting 
delicacies of bombarded veal. To these succeeded that 
masterpiece of the culinary art, a grand battalia pie, in 
which the bodies of chickens, pigeons, and rabbits Avere 
embalmed in spices, cocks' combs, and savoury balls, and 
well bedewed with one of those rich sauces of claret, an- 
chovy, and sweet herbs, in which our great-grandfathers 
delighted, and which was technically termed a Lear. But 
the grand essay of skill was the cover of this pasty, whereon 
the curious cook had contrived to represent all the once- 
living forms that were now entombed in that gorgeous 
sepulchre. A Florentine tourte, or tansy, an old English 
custard, a more refined blamango, and a riband jelly of 
many colours, offered a pleasant relief after these vaster 
inventions, and the repast closed with a dish of oyster 
loaves and a pompetone of larks. 

Notwithstanding the abstemiousness of his hostess, the 
Doctor was never deterred from doing justice to her hospi- 
tality. Pew were the dishes that ever escaped him. The 
demon dyspepsia had not waved its fell wings over the 
eighteenth century, and wonderful were the feats then 
achieved by a country gentleman with the united aid of a 
good digestion and a good conscience. 

The servants had retired, and Dr. Masham had taken his 
last glass of port, and then he rang a bell on the table, and, 
I trust my fair readers will not be frightened from pro- 
ceeding with this history, a servant brought him his pipe. 
The pipe was well stuffed, duly lighted, and duly puffed ; 
and then, taking it from his mouth, the Doctor spoke. 

' And so, my honoured lady, you have got a neighbour 
at last.' 

' Indeed ! ' exclaimed Lady Annabel. 

But the claims of the pipe prevented the good Doctor 
from too quickly satisfying her natural curiosity. Another 
puff or two, and he then continued. 



16 VENETIA. 

' Yes,' said he, ' the old abbey has at last found a tenant.' 

'A tenant, Doctor ? ' 

' Ay ! the best tenant in the world : its proprietor.' 

' Yon quite surprise me. When did this occur ? ' 

' They have been there these three days ; I have paid 
them a visit. Mrs. Cadurcis has come to live at the abbey 
with the little lord.' 

' This is indeed news to us,' said Lady Annabel ; ' and 
what kind of people are they ? ' 

' You know, my dear madam,' said the Doctor, just 
touching the ash of his pipe with his tobacco- stopper of 
chased silver, ' that the present lord is a very distant 
relative of the late one ? ' 

Lady Annabel bowed assent. 

' The late lord,' continued the Doctor, ' who was as 
strange and wrong-headed a man as ever breathed, though 
I trust he is in the kingdom of heaven for all that, left all 
his property to his unlawful children, with the exception of 
this estate entailed on the title, as all estates should be. 
'Tis a fine place, but no great rental. I doubt whether 'tis 
more than a clear twelve hundred a-year.' 

' And Mrs. Cadurcis ? ' inquired Lady Annabel. 

'Was an heiress,' replied the Doctor, ' and the late Mr. 
Cadurcis a spendrift. He was a bad manager, and, worse, 
a bad husband. Providence was pleased to summon him 
suddenly from this mortal scene, but not before he had 
dissipated the greater part of his wife's means. Mrs. 
Cadurcis, since she was a widow, has lived in strict seclusion 
with her little boy, as you may, my dear lady, with your 
dear little girl. But I am afraid,' said the Doctor, shaking 
his head, ' she has not been in the habit of dining so well 
as we have to-day. A very limited income, my dear madam ; 
a very limited income indeed. And the guardians. I am 
told, will only allow the little lord a hundred a-year ; but, 
on her own income, whatever it may be, and that addition, 
she has resolved to live at the abbey ; and I believe, ] 
believe she has it rent-free ; but I don't know.' 



VENETIA. 17 

' Poor -woman ! ' said Lady Annabel, and not without a 
sigh. ' I trust her child is her consolation.' 

Venetia had not spoken during this conversation, but 
she had listened to it very attentively. At length she said, 
* Mamma, is not a widow a wife that has lost her husband?' 

' You are right, my dear,' said Lady Annabel, rather 
gravely. 

Venetia mused a moment, and then replied, ' Pray, 
mamma, are you a widow ? ' 

'My dear little girl,' said Dr. Masham, ' go and give that 
beautiful peacock a pretty piece of cake.' 

Lady Annabel and the Doctor rose from the table with 
Venetia, and took a turn in the park, while the Doctor's 
horses were getting ready. 

' I think, my good lady,' said the Doctor, ' it would be 
but an act of Christian charity to call upon Mrs. Cadurcis.' 

' I was thinking the same,' said Lady Annabel ; ' I am 
interested by what you have told me of her history and 
fortunes. We have some woes in common ; I hope some 
joys. It seems that this case should indeed be an exception 
to my rule.' 

' I would not ask you to sacrifice your inclinations to the 
mere pleasures of the world,' said the Doctor : ' but duties, 
my dear lady, duties ; there are such things as duties to our 
neighbour; and here is a case where, believe me, they 
might be fulfilled.' 

The Doctor's horses now appeared. Both master and 
groom wore their pistols in their holsters. The Doctor 
shook hands warmly with Lady Annabel, and patted 
Venetia on her head, as she ran np from a little distance, 
with an eager countenance, to receive her accustomed bless- 
ing. Then mounting his stout mare, he once more waived 
his hand with an air of courtliness to his hostess, and was 
soon out of sight. Lady Annabel and Venetia returned to 
the terrace-room. 



18 VENETIA. 



CHAPTER V. 

'AND so I would, my lady,' said Mistress Pauncefort, 
when Lady Annabel communicated to her faithful attendant, 
at night, the news of the arrival of the Cadurcis family at 
the abbey, and her intention of paying Mrs. Cadurcis a 
visit ; ' and so I would, my lady,' said Mistress Pauncefort, 
* and it would be but an act of Christian charity after all, 
as the Doctor says ; for although it is not for me to com- 
plain when my betters are satisfied, and after all I am 
always content, if your ladyship be ; still there is no deny- 
ing the fact, that this is a terrible lonesome life after all. 
And I cannot help thinking your ladyship has not been 
looking so well of late, and a little society would do your 
ladyship good ; and Miss Venetia too, after all, she wants a 
playfellow ; I am certain sure that I was as tired of playing 
at ball with her this morning as if I had never sat down in 
my born days ; and I dare say the little lord will play with 
her all day long.' 

' If I thought that this visit would lead to what is under- 
stood by the word society, my good Pauncefort, I certainly 
should refrain from paying it,' said Lady Annabel, very 
quietly. 

'Oh! Lord, dear my lady, I was not for a moment 
dreaming of any such thing,' replied Mistress Pauncefort ; 
' society, I know as well as any one, means grand balls, 
Ranelagh, and the masquerades. I can't abide the thought 
of them, I do assure your ladyship ; all I meant was that a 
quiet dinner now and then with a few friends, a dance 
perhaps in the evening, or a hand of whist, or a game of 
romps at Christmas, when the abbey will of course be quite 
fall, a ' 

* I believe there is as little chance of the abbey being full 
at Christmas, or any other time, as there is of Cherbury,' 
said Lady Annabel. ' Mrs. Cadurcis is a widow, with a 
very slender fortune. Her son will not enjoy bis estate 



VENETIA. 19 

until lie is of age, and its rental is small. I am led to 
believe that they \vill live quite as quietly as ourselves ; 
and when I spoke of Christian charity, I was thinking only 
of kindness towards them, and not of amusement for our- 
selves.' 

' "Well, my lady, your la' ship knows best,' replied Mistress 
Pauncefort, evidently very disappointed; for she had in- 
dulged in momentary visions of noble visitors and noble 
valets ; 'I am always content, you know, when your la' ship 
is ; but, I must say, I think it is very odd for a lord to be 
so poor. I never heard of such a thing. I think they will 
turn out richer than you have an idea, my lady. Your 
la' ship knows 'tis quite a saying, " As rich as a lord." ' 

Lady Annabel smiled, but did not reply. 

The next morning the fawn-coloured chariot, which had 
rarely been used since Lady Annabel's arrival at Cherbury, 
and four black long-tailed coach-horses, that from absolute 
necessity had been degraded, in the interval, to the service of 
the cart and the plough, made their appearance, after much 
bustle and effort, before the hall-door. Although a morn- 
ing's stroll from Cherbury through the woods, Cadurcis 
was distant nearly ten miles by the road, and that road was 
in great part impassable, save in favourable seasons. This 
visit, therefore, was an expedition ; and Lady Annabel^ 
fearing the fatigue for a child, determined to leave Venetia 
at home, from whom she had actually never been separated 
one hour in her life. Venetia could not refrain from shed- 
ding a tear when her mother embraced and quitted her, and 
begged, as a last favour, that she might accompany her 
through the park to the avenue lodge. So Pauncefort and 
herself entered the chariot, that rocked like a ship, in spite 
of all the skill of the coachman and the postilion. 

Venetia walked home with Mistress Pauncefort, but 
Lady Annabel's little daughter was not in her usual lively 
spirits ; many a butterfly glanced around without attracting 
her pursuit, and the deer trooped by without eliciting a 
single observation. At length she said, in a thoughtful 

c 2 



20 VENETIA. 

tone, 'Mistress Pauncefort, I should have liked to have gone 
and seen the little boy.' 

' You shall go and see him another day, Miss,' replied 
her attendant. 

' Mistress Pauncefort,' said Venetia, ' are you a widow ? ' 

Mistress Pauncefort almost started ; had the inquiry 
been made by a man ; she would almost have supposed he 
was going to be very rude. She was indeed much sur- 
prised. 

' And pray, Miss Venetia, what could put it in your head 
to ask such an odd question ? ' exclaimed Mistress Paunce- 
fort. ' A widow ! Miss Venetia ; I have 'never yet changed 
my name, and I shall not in a hurry, that I can tell 
you.' 

* Do widows change their names ? ' said Venetia. 

' All women change their names when they marry,' re- 
sponded Mistress Pauncefort. 

* Is mamma married ? ' inquired Venetia. 

' La ! Miss Venetia. Well, to be sure, you do ask the 
strangest questions. Married ! to be sure she is married,' 
said Mistress Pauncefort, exceedingly flustered. 

' And whom is she married to ? ' pursued the unwearied 
Venetia. 

'Your papa, to be sure,' said Mistress Pauncefort, blush- 
ing up to her eyes, and looking very confused ; ' that is to 
say, Miss Venetia, you are never to ask questions about such 
subjects. Have not I often told you it is not pretty ? ' 

' Why is it not pretty ? ' said Venetia 

'Because it is not proper,' said Mistress Pauncefort; 
' because your mamma does not like you to ask such ques- 
tions, and she will be very angry with me for answering 
them, I can tell you that.' 

* I tell you what, Mistress Pauncefort,' said Venetia, ' I 
think mamma is a widow.' 

' And what then, Miss Venetia ? There is no shame in 
that.' 

' Shame ! ' exclaimed Venetia. * What is shame ? ' 



VENETIA. 21 

' Look, there is a pretty butterfly ! ' exclaimed Mistress 
Pauncefort. ' Did you ever see such a pretty butterfly, Miss ? ' 

' I do not care about butterflies to-day, Mistress Paunce- 
fort ; I like to talk about widows.' 

' Was there ever such a child ! ' exclaimed Mistress 
Pauncefort, with a wondering glance. 

' I must have had a papa,' Said Venetia ; ' all the ladies I 
read about had papas, and married husbands. Then whom 
did my mamma marry ? ' 

' Lord ! Miss Venetia, you know very well your mamma 
always tells you that all those books you read are a pack 
of stories,' observed Mistress Pauncefort, with an air of 
triumphant art. 

' There never were such persons, perhaps,' said Yenetia, 
' but it is not true that there never were such things as 
papas and husbands, for all people have papas ; you must 
have had a papa, Mistress Pauncefort ? ' 

' To be sure. I had,' said Mistress Pauncefort, bridling 
up. 

' And a mamma too ? ' said Venetia. 

' As honest a woman as ever lived,' said Mistress Paunce- 
fort. 

' Then if I have no papa, mamma must be a wife that 
has lost her husband, and that, mamma told me at dinner 
yesterday, was a widow.' 

' Was the like ever seen ! ' exclaimed Mistress Paunce- 
fort. ' And what then, Miss Venetia ? ' 

' It seems to me so odd that only two people should live 
here, and both be widows,' said Venetia, ' and both have a 
little child ; the only difference is, that one is a little boy, 
and I am a little girl.' 

'When ladies lose their husbands, they do not like to 
have their names mentioned,' said Mistress Pauncefort ; 
' and so you must never talk of your papa to my lady, and 
that is the truth.' 

' I will not now,' said Venetia. 

When they returned home, Mistress Pauncefort brought 



22 VENETIA. 

her work, and seated herself on the terrace, that she might 
not lose sight of her charge. Venetia played about for 
some little time ; she made a castle behind a tree, and 
fancied she was a knight, and then a lady, and conjured up 
an ogre in the neighbouring shrubbery ; but these day- 
dreams did not amuse her as much as usual. She went and 
fetched her book, but even ' The Seven Champions ' could 
not interest her. Her eye was fixed upon the page, and 
apparently she was absorbed in her pursuit, but her mind 
wandered, and the page was never turned. She indulged 
in an unconscious reverie ; her fancy was with her mother 
on her visit ; the old abbey rose up before her : she painted 
the scene without an effort : the court, with the fountain ; 
the grand room, with the tapestry hangings ; that desolate 
garden, with the fallen statues ; and that long, gloomy 
gallery. And in all these scenes appeared that little boy, 
who, somehow or other, seemed wonderfully blended with 
her imaginings. It was a very long day this ; Venetia 
dined along with Mistress Pauncefort ; the time hung very 
heavy ; at length she fell asleep in Mistress Pauncefort's 
lap. A sound roused her : the carriage had returned ; she 
ran to greet her mother, but there was no news ; Mrs. 
Cadurcis had been absent ; she had gone to a distant town 
to buy some furniture ; and, after all, Lady Annabel had 
not seen the little boy. 



CHAPTER VI. 

A FEW days after the visit to Cadurcis, when Lady Annabel 
was sitting alone, a postchaise drove up to the hall, 
whence issued a short and stout woman with a rubicund 
countenance, and dressed in a style which remarkably 
blended the shabby with the tawdry. She was accompanied 
by a boy between eleven and twelve years of age, whose 
appearance, however, much contrasted with that of his 



VENETIA. 23 

mother, for he was pale and slender, with long curling 
black hair and large black eyes, which occasionally, by 
their transient flashes, agreeably relieved a face the general 
expression of which might be esteemed somewhat shy 
and sullen. The lady, of course, was Mrs. Cadurcis, 
who was received by Lady Annabel with the greatest 
courtesy. 

' A terrible journey,' exclaimed Mrs. Cadurcis. fanning 
herself as she took her seat, ' and so very hot ! Planta- 
genet, my love, make your bow ! Have not I always told you 
to make a bow when you enter a room, especially where 
there are strangers ? This is Lady Annabel Herbert, who 
was so kind as to call upon us. Make your bow to Lady 
Annabel.' 

The boy gave a sort of sulky nod, but Lady Annabel re- 
ceived it so graciously and expressed herself so kindly to 
him that his features relaxed a little, though he was quite 
silent and sat on the edge of his chair, the picture of 
dogged indifference. 

' Charming country, Lady Annabel,' said Mrs. Cadurcis, 
' but worse roads, if possible, than we had in Northumber- 
land, where, indeed, there were no roads at all. Cherbury 
a delightful place, very unlike the abbey ; dreadfully lone- 
some I assure you I find it, Lady Annabel. Great change 
for us from a little town and all our kind neighbours. 
Very different from Morpeth ; is it not, Plantagenet ? ' 

* I hate Morpeth,' said the boy. 

' Hate Morpeth ! ' exclaimed Mrs. Cadurcis ; ' well, I am 
sure, that is very ungrateful, with so many kind friends as 
we always found. Besides, Plantagenet, have I not always 
told you that you are to hate nothing ? It is very wicked. 
The trouble it costs me, Lady Annabel, to educate this dear 
child ! ' continued Mrs. Cadurcis, turning to Lady Annabel, 
and speaking in a semi- tone. ' I have done it all myself, I 
assure you ; and, when he likes, he can be as good as any 
one. Can't you, Plantagenet ? ' 

Lord Cadurcis gave a grim smile ; seated himself at the 



24 VENETIA. 

very back of the deep chair and swung his feet, which no 
longer reached the ground, to and fro. 

' I am sure that Lord Cadurcis always behaves well,' said 
Lady Annabel. 

' There, Plantagenet,' exclaimed Mrs. Cadurcis, ' only 
listen to that. Hear what Lady Annabel Herbert says; 
she is sure you always behave well. Now mind, never give 
her ladyship cause to change her opinion.' 

Plantagenet curled his lip, and half turned his back on 
his companions. 

* I regretted so much that I was not at home when yon 
did me the honour to call,' resumed Mrs. Cadurcis ; ' but I 
had gone over for the day to Southport, buying furniture. 
What a business it is to buy furniture, Lady Annabel ! * 
added Mrs. Cadurcis, with a piteous expression. 

' It is indeed very troublesome,' said Lady Annabel. 

' Ah ! you have none of these cares,' continued Mrs. 
Cadurcis, surveying the pretty apartment. ' What a 
difference between Cherbury and the abbey ! I suppose 
you have never been there ? ' 

' Indeed, it is one of my favourite walks,' answered Lady 
Annabel ; ' and, some two years ago, I even took the liberty 
of walking through the house.' 

' Was there ever such a place ! ' exclaimed Mrs. Cadurcis. 
' I assure you my poor head turns whenever I try to find 
my way about it. But the trustees offered it us, and I 
thought it my duty to my son to reside there. Besides, it 
was a great offer to a widow ; if poor Mr. Cadurcis had been 
alive it would have been different. I hardly know what I 
shall do there, particularly in winter. My spirits are always 
dreadfully low. I only hope Plantagenet will behave well. 
If he goes into his tantarums at the abbey, and particularly 
in winter, I hardly know what will become of me ! ' 

' I am sure Lord Cadurcis will do everything to make the 
abbey comfortable to you. Besides, it is but a short walk 
from Cherbury, and you must come often and see us.' 

' Oh ! Plantagenet can be good if he likes, I can assure 



VENETIA. 25 

yon, Lady Annabel ; and behaves as properly as any little 
boy I know. Plantagenet, my dear, speak. Have not I 
always told you, when you pay a visit, that you should 
open your mouth now and then. I don't like chattering 
children,' added Mrs. Cadurcis, ' but I like them to answer 
when they are spoken to.' 

' Nobody has spoken to me,' said Lord Cadurcis, in a 
sullen tone. 

' Plantagenet, my love !' said his mother in a solemn voice. 

' Well, mother, what do you want ? ' 

' Plantagenet, my love, you know you promised me to be 
good ! ' 

' Well ! what have I done ? ' 

' Lord Cadurcis,' said Lady Annabel, interfering, ' do you 
like to look at pictures ? ' 

' Thank you,' replied the little lord, in a more courteous 
tone ; ' I like to be left alone.' 

' Did you ever know such an odd child ! ' said Mrs. 
Cadurcis ; ' and yet, Lady Annabel, you must not judge him 
by what you see. I do assure you he can behave, when he 
likes, as pretty as possible.' 

' Pretty ! ' muttered the little lord between his teeth. 

' If you had only seen him at Morpeth sometimes at a 
little tea party,' said Mrs. Cadurcis, 'he really was quite 
the ornament of the company.' 

' No, I wasn't,' said Lord Cadurcis. 

' Plantagenet ! ' said his mother again in a solemn tone, 
' have I not always told you that you are never to contradict 
any one ? ' 

The little lord indulged in a suppressed growl. 

' There was a little play last Christmas,' continued Mrs. 
Cadurcis, ' and he acted quite delightfully. Now you would 
not think that, from the way he sits upon that chair. 
Plantagenet, my dear, I do insist upon your behaving- 
yourself. Sit like a man.' 

' I am not a man,' said Lord Cadurcis, very quietly ; ' I 
wish I were.' 



26 VENETIA. 

' Plantagenet ! ' said the mother, ' have not I always told 
you that you. are never to answer me ? It is not proper for 
children to answer ! Lady Annabel, if you knew what it 
cost me to educate iny son. He never does anything I wish, 
and it is so provoking, because I know that he can behave 
as properly as possible if he likes. He does it to provoke 
me. You know you do it to provoke me, you little brat ; 
now, sit properly, sir ; I do desire you to sit properly. 
How vexatious that you should call at Cherbury for the 
first time, and behave in this manner ! Plantagenet, do you 
hear me ? ' exclaimed Mrs. Cadurcis, with a face reddening 
to scarlet, and almost menacing a move from her seat. 

' Yes, everybody hears you, Mrs. Cadurcis,' said the little 
lord. 

' Don't call me Mrs. Cadurcis,' exclaimed the mother, in 
a dreadful rage. ' That is not the way to speak to your 
mother ; I will not be called Mrs. Cadurcis by you. Don't 
answer me, sir; I desire you not to answer me. I have 
half a mind to get up and give you a good shake, that I 
have. O Lady Annabel,' sighed Mrs. Cadurcis, while a tear 
trickled down her cheek, ' if you only knew the life I lead, 
and what trouble it costs me to educate that child ! ' 

' My dear madam,' said Lady Annabel, ' I am sure that 
Lord Cadurcis has no other wish but to please you. 
Indeed you have misunderstood him.' 

' Yes ! she always misunderstands me,' said Lord Ca- 
durcis, in a softer tone, but with pouting lips and suffused 
eyes. 

' Now he is going on,' said his mother, beginning herself 
to cry dreadfully. ' He knows my weak heart ; he knows 
nobody in the world loves him like his mother ; and this is 
the way he treats me.' 

' My dear Mrs. Cadurcis,' said Lady Annabel, ' pray take 
luncheon after your long drive ; and Lord Cadurcis, I am 
sure you must be fatigued.' 

' Thank you, I never eat, my dear lady,' said Mrs. Ca- 
durcis, ' except at my meals. But one glass of Mountain, 



VENETIA. 27 

if you please, I would just take the liberty of tasting, for 
the weather is so dreadfully hot, and Plantagenet has so 
aggravated me, I really do not feel myself.' 

Lady Annabel sounded her silver hand-bell, and the 
butler brought some cakes and the Mountain. Mrs. Ca- 
durcis revived by virtue of her single glass, and the provi- 
dential co-operation of a subsequent one or two. Even 
the cakes and the Mountain, however, would not tempt her 
son to open his mouth ; and this, in spite of her returning 
composure, drove her to desperation. A conviction that 
the Mountain and the cakes were delicious, an amiable 
desire that the palate of her spoiled child should be gra- 
tified, some reasonable maternal anxiety that after so long 
and fatiguing a drive he in fact needed some refreshment, 
and the agonising consciousness that all her own physical 
pleasure at the moment was destroyed by the mental 
sufferings she endured at having quarrelled with her son, 
and that he was depriving himself of Avhat was so agreeable 
only to pique her, quite overwhelmed the ill-regulated mind 
of this fond mother. Between each sip and each mouthful, 
she appealed to him to follow her example, now with ca- 
jolery, now with menace, till at length, worked up by the 
united stimulus of the Mountain and her own ungovernable 
rage, she dashed down the glass and unfinished slice of 
cake, and, before the astonished Lady Annabel, rushed 
forward to give him what she had long threatened, and 
what she in general ultimately had recourse to, a good 
shake. 

Her agile son, experienced in these storms, escaped in 
time, and pushed his chair before his infuriated mother ; 
Mrs. Cadurcis, however, rallied, and chased him round the 
room ; once more she flattered herself she had captured 
him, once more he evaded her ; in her despair she took up 
Venetia's ' Seven Champions,' and threw the volume at his 
head; he laughed a fiendish laugh, as, ducking his head, 
the book flew on, and dashed through a pane of glass ; 
Mrs. Cadurcis made a desperate charge, and her son, a little 



28 VENETIA. 

frightened at her almost maniacal passion, saved himself 
by suddenly seizing Lady Annabel's work-table, and whirl- 
ing it before her ; Mrs. Cadurcis fell over the leg of the 
table, and went into hysterics ; while the bloodhound, who 
had long started from his repose, looked at his mistress for 
instructions, and in the meantime continued barking. The 
astonished and agitated Lady Annabel assisted Mrs. Ca- 
durcis to rise, and led her to a couch. Lord Cadurcis, 
pale and dogged, stood in a corner, and after all this 
uproar there was a comparative calm, only broken by" the 
sobs of the mother, each instant growing fainter and 
fainter. 

At this moment the door opened, and Mistress Pauncefort 
ushered in the little Yenetia. She really looked like an 
angel of peace sent from heaven on a mission of concord, 
with her long golden hair, her bright face, and smile of in- 
effable loveliness. 

' Mamma ! ' said Yenetia, in the sweetest tone. 

' Hush ! darling,' said Lady Annabel, ' this lady is not very 
well.' 

Mrs. Cadurcis opened her eyes and sighed. She beheld 
Yenetia, and stared at her with a feeling of wonder. ' O 
Lady Annabel,' she faintly exclaimed, ' what must you think 
of me ? But was there ever such an unfortunate mother ? 
and I have not a thought in the world but for that boy. I 
have devoted my life to him, and never would have buried 
myself in this abbey but for his sake. And this is the way 
he treats me, and his father before him treated me even 
worse. Am I not the most unfortunate woman you ever 
knew ? ' 

' My dear madam,' said the kind Lady Annabel, in a 
soothing tone, ' you will be very happy yet ; all will be 
quite right and quite happy.' 

' Is this angel your child ? ' inquired Mrs. Cadurcis, in a 
low voice. 

' This is my little girl, Yenetia. Come hither, Yenetia, 
and speak to Mrs. Cadurcis.' 



VENETIA. 20 

4 How do you do, Mrs. Cadurcis ? ' said Venetia. ' I am 
so glad you have come to live at the abbey.' 

' The angel ! ' exclaimed Mrs. Cadurcis. ' The sweet 
seraph ! Oh ! why did not my Plantagenet speak to you, 
Lady Annabel, in the same tone ? And he can, if he likes ; 
he can, indeed. It was his silence that so mortified me ; it 
was his silence that led to all. I am so proud of him ! and 
then he comes here, and never speaks a word. Planta- 
genet, I am sure you will break my heart.' 

Yenetia went up to the little lord in the corner, and 
gently stroked his dark cheek. ' Are you the little boy ? ' 
she said. 

Cadurcis looked at her ; at first the glance was rather 
fierce, but it instantly relaxed. ' What is your name ? ' he 
said in a low, but not unkind, tone. 

' Venetia ! ' 

' I like you, Yenetia,' said the boy. ' Do you live here ? ' 

' Yes, with my mamma.' 

' I like your mamma, too ; but not so much as you. I 
like your gold hair.' 

' Oh, how funny ! to like my gold hair ! ' 

' If you had come in sooner,' said Cadurcis, ' we should 
not have had this row.' 

* What is a row, little boy ? ' said Yenetia. 

' Do not call me little boy,' he said, but not in an unkind 
tone ; ' call me by my name.' 

' What is your name ? ' 

' Lord Cadurcis ; but you may call me by my Christian 
name, because I like you.' 

' What is your Christian name ? ' 

' Plantagenet.' 

' Plantagenet ! What a long name ! ' said Yenetia. 
' Tell me then, Plantagenet, what is a row ? ' 

' What often takes place between me and my mother, but 
which I am sorry now has happened here, for I like this 
place, and should like to come often. A row is a quarrel.' 

' A quarrel ! What ! do you quarrel with your mamma?' 



30 VENETIA. 

1 Often.' 

' Why, then, you are not a good boy.' 

' Ah ! my mamma is not like yonrs,' said the little lord, 
with a sigh. ' It is not my fault. But now I want to 
make it up ; how shall I do it ? ' 

' Go and give her a kiss.' 

' Poh ! that is not the way.' 

' Shall I go and ask my mamma what is best to do ? ' 
said Venetia ; and she stole away on tiptoe, and whispered 
to Lady Annabel that Plantagenet wanted her. Her 
mother came forward and invited Lord Cadurcis to walk 
on the terrace with her, leaving Venetia to amuse her 
other guest. 

Lady Annabel, though kind, was frank and firm in her 
unexpected confidential interview with her new friend. 
She placed before him clearly the enormity of his conduct, 
which no provocation could justify ; it was a violation of 
divine law, as well as human propriety. She found the 
little lord attentive, tractable, and repentant, and, what 
might not have been expected, exceedingly ingenious and 
intelligent. His observations, indeed, were distinguished 
by remarkable acuteness ; and though he could not, and 
indeed did not even attempt to vindicate his conduct, he 
incidentally introduced much that might be urged in its 
extenuation. There was indeed in this, his milder moment, 
something very winning in his demeanour, and Lady An- 
nabel deeply regretted that a nature of so much promise 
and capacity should, by the injudicious treatment of a 
parent, at once fond and violent, afford such slight hopes of 
future happiness. It was arranged between Lord Cadurcis 
and Lady Annabel that she should lead him to his mother, 
and that he should lament the past, and ask her forgive- 
ness ; so they re-entered the room. Venetia was listening 
to a long story from Mrs. Cadurcis, who appeared to have 
entirely recovered herself ; but her countenance assumed a 
befitting expression of grief and gravity when she observed 
her son. 



VEKETIA. 31 

* My dear madam,' said Lady Annabel, ' your son is un- 
happy that he should have offended you, and he has asked 
my kind offices to effect a perfect reconciliation between a 
child who wishes to be dutiful to a parent who, he feels, 
has always been so affectionate.' 

Mrs. Cadurcis began crying. 

* Mother,' said her son, ' I am sorry for what has 
occurred ; mine was the fault. I shall not be happy till 
you pardon me.' 

' No, yours was not the fault,' said poor Mrs. Cadurcis, 
crying bitterly. ' Oh ! no, it was not ! I was in fault, only 
I. There, Lady Annabel, did I not tell you he was the 
sweetest, dearest, most generous-hearted creature that ever 
lived ? Oh ! if he would only always speak so, I am sure 
I should be the happiest woman that ever breathed ! He 
puts me in mind quite of his poor dear father, who was an 
angel upon earth ; he was indeed, when he was not vexed. 
O my dear Plantagenet ! my only hope and joy ! you are 
the treasure and consolation of my life, and always will be. 
God bless you, my darling child ! You shall have that 
pony you wanted ; I am sure I can manage it : I did not 
think I could.' 

As Lady Annabel thought it was as well that the mother 
and the son should not be immediately thrown together 
after this storm, she kindly proposed that they should remain, 
and pass the day at Cherbury ; and, as Plantagenet's eyes 
brightened at the proposal, it did not require much trouble 
to persuade his mother to accede to it. The day, that had 
commenced so inauspiciously, turned out one of the most 
agreeable, both to Mrs. Cadurcis and her child. The two 
mothers conversed together, and, as Mrs. Cadurcis was a 
great workwoman, there was at least one bond of sympathy 
between. her and the tapestry of her hostess. Then they all 
took a stroll in the park ; and as Mrs. Cadurcis was not 
able to walk for any length of time, the children were per- 
mitted to stroll about together, attended by Mistress 
Paancefort, while Mrs. Cadurcis, chatting without ceasing, 



32 VENETIA. 

detailed to Lady Annabel all the history of her life, all the 
details of her various complaints and her economical 
arrangements, and all the secrets of her husband's treat- 
ment of her, that favourite subject on which she ever 
waxed most eloquent. Plantagenet, equally indulging in 
confidence, which with him, however, was unusual, poured 
all his soul into the charmed ear of Venetia. He told her 
how he and his mother had lived at Morpeth, and how he 
hated it ; how poor they had. been, and how rich he should 
be ; how he loved the abbey, and especially the old gallery, 
and the drums and armour ; how he had been a day- scholar 
at a little school which he abhorred, and how he was to go 
some day to Eton, of which he was very proud. 

At length they were obliged to return, and when dinner 
was over the postchaise was announced. Mrs. Cadurcis 
parted from Lady Annabel with all the warm expressions 
of a heart naturally kind and generous ; and Plantagenet 
embraced Venetia, and promised that the next day he 
would find his way alone from Cadurcis, through the wood, 
and come and take another walk with her. 



CHAPTER VIL 

THIS settlement of Mrs. Cadurcis and her son in the neigh- 
bourhood was an event of no slight importance in the life of 
the family at Cherbury. Venetia at length found a com- 
panion of her own age, itself an incident which, in its 
influence upon her character and pursuits, was not to be 
disregarded. There grew up between the little lord and 
the daughter of Lady Annabel that fond intimacy which 
not rarely occurs in childhood. Plantagenet and Venetia 
quickly imbibed for each other a singular affection, not dis- 
pleasing to Lady Annabel, who observed, without dissatis- 
faction, the increased happiness of her child, and encouraged 
by her kindness the frequent visits of the boy, who soon. 



VENETIA. 33 

learnt the shortest road from the abbey, and almost daily 
scaled the hill, and traced his way through the woods to the 
hall. There was much, indeed, in the character and the 
situation of Lord Cadurcis which interested Lady Annabel 
Herbert. His mild, engaging, and affectionate manners, 
when he was removed from the injudicious influence of his 
mother, won upon her feelings ; she felt for this lone child, 
whom nature had gifted with so soft a heart and with a 
thoughtful mind whose outbreaks not unfrequently attracted 
her notice ; with none to guide him, and with only one 
heart to look up to for fondness ; and that, too, one that 
had already contrived to forfeit the respect even of so young 
a child. 

Yet Lady Annabel was too sensible of the paramount 
claims of a mother ; herself, indeed, too jealous of any en- 
croachment on the full privileges of maternal love ; to sanc- 
tion in the slightest degree, by her behaviour, any neglect 
of Mrs. Cadurcis by her son. For his sake, therefore, she 
courted the society of her new neighbour ; and although 
Mrs. Cadurcis offered little to engage Lady Annabel's 
attention as a companion, though she was violent in her 
temper, far from well informed, and, from the society in. 
which, in spite of her original good birth, her later years 
had passed, very far from being refined, she was not with- 
out her good qualities. She was generous, kind-hearted, 
and grateful ; not insensible of her own deficiencies, and 
respectable from her misfortunes. Lady Annabel was one 
of those who always judged individuals rather by their good 
qualities than their bad. With the exception of her violent 
temper, which, under the control of Lady Annabel's pre- 
sence, and by the aid of all that kind person's skilful 
management, Mrs. Cadurcis generally contrived to bridle, her 
principal faults were those of manner, which, from the force 
of habit, every day became less painful. Mrs. Cadurcis, 
who, indeed, was only a child of a larger growth, became 
scarcely less attached to the Herbert family than her son ; 
she felt that her life, under their influence, was happier and 

D 



34 VENETIA. 

serener than of yore ; that there were less domestic broils 
than in old days ; that her son was more dutiful ; and, as 
she could not help suspecting, though she found it difficult 
to analyse the cause, herself more amiable. The truth was, 
Lady Annabel always treated Mrs. Cadnrcis with studied 
respect ; and the children, and especially Venetia, followed 
her example. Mrs. Cadurcis' self-complacency was not only 
less shocked, but more gratified, than before ; and this was 
the secret of her happiness. For no one was more mor- 
tified by her rages, when they were past, than Mrs. Cadur- 
cis herself; she felt they compromised her dignity, and 
had lost her all moral command over a child whom she 
loved at the bottom of her heart with a kind of wild pas- 
sion, though she would menace and strike him, and who 
often precipitated these paroxysms by denying his mother 
that duty and affection which were, after all, the great 
charm and pride of her existence. 

As Mrs. Cadurcis was unable to walk to Cherbury, and 
as Plantagenet soon fell into the habit of passing every 
morning at the hall, Lady Annabel was frequent in her 
visits to the mother, and soon she persuaded Mrs. Cadurcis 
to order the old postchaise regularly on Saturday, and 
remain at Cherbury until the following Monday ; by these 
means both families united together in the chapel at divine 
service, while the presence of Dr. Masham, at their now 
increased Sunday dinner, was an incident in the monotonous 
life of Mrs. Cadurcis far from displeasing to her. The Doctor 
gave her a little news of the neighbourhood, and of the 
country in general; amused her with an occasional anec- 
dote of the Queen and the young Princesses, and always 
lent her the last number of ' Sylvanus Urban.' 

This weekly visit to Cherbury, the great personal atten- 
tion which she always received there, and the frequent 
morning walks of Lady Annabel to the abbey, effectually 
repressed on the whole the jealousy which was a character- 
istic of Mrs. Cadurcis' nature, and which the constant ab- 
sence of her son from her in the mornings might otherwise 



VENETIA. 35 

have fatally developed. But Mrs. Cadurcis could not resist 
the conviction that the Herberts were as much her friends 
as her child's ; her jealousy was balanced by her gratitude ; 
she was daily, almost hourly, sensible of some kindness of 
Lady Annabel, for there were a thousand services in the 
power of the opulent and ample establishment of Cherbury 
to afford the limited and desolate household at the abbey. 
Living in seclusion, it is difficult to refrain from imbibing 
even a strong regard for our almost solitary companion, 
however incompatible may be our pursuits, and however 
our tastes may vary, especially when that companion is 
grateful, and duly sensible of the condescension of our inti- 
macy. And so it happened that, before a year had elapsed, 
that very Mrs. Cadurcis, whose first introduction at Cherbury 
had been so unfavourable to her, and from whose temper 
and manners the elegant demeanour and the disciplined 
mind of Lady Annabel Herbert might have been excused 
for a moment recoiling, had succeeded in establishing a 
strong hold upon the affections of her refined neighbour, 
who sought, on every occasion, her society, and omitted few 
opportunities of contributing to her comfort and welfare. 

In the meantime her son was the companion of Venetia, 
both in her pastimes and studies. The education of Lord 
Cadurcis had received no further assistance than was 
afforded by the little grammar-school at Morpeth, where he 
had passed three or four years as a day-scholar, and where 
his mother had invariably taken his part on every occasion 
that he had incurred the displeasure of his master. There 
he had obtained some imperfect knowledge of Latin ; yet 
the boy was fond of reading, and had picked up, in an odd 
way, more knowledge than might have been supposed. He 
had read ' Baker's Chronicle,' and ' The Old Universal 
History,' and 'Plutarch;' and had turned over, in the book 
room of an old gentleman at Morpeth, who had been at- 
tracted by his intelligence, not a few curious old folios, 
from which he had gleaned no contemptible store of curious 
instances of human nature. His guardian, whom he had 

P 2 



36 VENETIA. 

never seen, and who was a great nobleman and lived in 
London, had signified to Mrs. Cadurcis his intention of send- 
ing his ward to Eton ; but that time had not yet arrived, 
and Mrs. Cadurcis, who dreaded parting with her son, de- 
termined to postpone it by every maternal artifice in her 
power. At present it would have seemed that her son's 
intellect was to be left utterly uncultivated, for there was 
no school in the neighbourhood which he could attend, 
and no occasional assistance which could be obtained ; 
and to the constant presence of a tutor in the house Mrs, 
Cadurcis was not less opposed than his lordship could have 
been himself. 

It was by degrees that Lord Cadurcis became the part- 
ner of Venetia in her studies. Lady Annabel had consulted 
Dr. Masham about the poor little boy, whose neglected 
state she deplored ; and the good Doctor had offered to 
ride over to Cherbury at least once a week, besides Sunday, 
provided Lady Annabel would undertake that his directions, 
in his absence, should be attended to. This her ladyship 
promised cheerfully ; nor had she any difficulty in per- 
suading Cadurcis to consent to the arrangement. He 
listened with docility and patience to her representation of 
the fatal effects, in his after- life, of his neglected education ; 
of the generous and advantageous offer of Dr. Masham ,- 
and how cheerfully she would exert herself to assist his 
endeavours, if Plantagenet would willingly submit to her 
supervision. The little lord expressed to her his deter- 
mination to do all that she desired, and voluntarily pro- 
mised her that she should never repent her goodness. 
And he kept his word. So every morning, with the full 
concurrence of Mrs. Cadurcis, whose advice and opinion on 
the affair were most formally solicited by Lady Annabel, 
Plantagenet arrived early at the hall, and took his writing 
and French lessons with Venetia, and then they alternately 
read aloud to Lady Annabel from the histories of Hooke 
and Echard. When Venetia repaired to her drawing, 
Cadurcis sat down to his Latin exercise, and, in encourag- 



VENETIA. 37 

ing and assisting him, Lady Annabel, a proficient in Italian, 
began herself to learn the ancient language of the Romans. 
With puch a charming mistress even these Latin exercises 
were achieved. In vain Cadurcis, after turning leaf over 
leaf, would look round with a piteous air to his fair assistant, 
* Lady Annabel, I am sure the word is not in the 
dictionary ; ' Lady Annabel was in a moment at his side, 
and, by some magic of her fair fingers, the word would 
somehow or other make its appearance. After a little ex- 
posure of this kind, Plantagenet would labour with double 
energy, until, heaving a deep sigh of exhaustion and vexa- 
tion, he would burst forth, ' Lady Annabel, indeed there 
is not a nominative case in this sentence.' And then Lady 
Annabel would quit her easel, with her pencil in her hand, 
and give all her intellect to the puzzling construction ; at 
length, she would say, ' I think, Plantagenet, this must be 
our nominative case ; ' and so it always was. 

Thus, when Wednesday came, the longest and most 
laborious morning of all Lord Cadurcis' studies, and when 
he neither wrote, nor read, nor learnt French with Venetia, 
but gave up all his soul to Dr. Masham, he usually acquitted 
Mmself to that good person's satisfaction, who left him, in 
general, with commendations that were not lost on the 
pupil, and plenty of fresh exercises to occupy him and Lady 
Annabel until the next week. When a year had thus passed 
away, the happiest year yet in Lord Cadurcis' life, in spite 
of all his disadvantages, he had contrived to make no in- 
considerable progress. Almost deprived of a tutor, he had 
advanced in classical acquirement more than during the 
"whole of his preceding years of scholarship, while his hand- 
writing began to become intelligible, he could read French 
with comparative facility, and had turned over many a 
volume in the well-stored library at Cherbury. 



38 VENETIA. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

WHEN tlie hours of study were past, the children, with that 
zest for play which occupation can alone secure, would go 
forth together, and wander in the park. Here they had 
made a little world for themselves, of which no one dreamed ; 
for Venetia had poured forth all her Arcadian lore into the 
ear of Plantagenet, and they acted together many of the 
adventures of the romance, under the fond names of Musi- 
dorus and Philoclea. Cherbury was Arcadia, and Cadurcis 
Macedon ; while the intervening woods figured as the forests 
of Thessaly, and the breezy downs were the heights of 
Pindus. Unwearied was the innocent sport of their virgin 
imaginations ; and it was a great treat if Venetia, attended 
by Mistress Pauncefort, were permitted to accompany 
Plantagenet some way on his return. Then they parted 
with an embrace in the woods of Thessaly, and Musidorus 
strolled home with a heavy heart to his Macedonian realm. 

Parted from Venetia, the magic suddenly seemed to cease, 
and Musidorus was instantly transformed into the little 
Lord Cadurcis, exhausted by the unconscious efforts of his 
fancy, depressed by the separation from his sweet com- 
panion, and shrinking from the unpoetical reception which 
at the best awaited him in his ungenial home. Often, when 
thus alone, would he loiter on his way and seat himself on 
the ridge, and watch the setting sun, as its dying glory 
illumined the turrets of his ancient house, and burnished the 
waters of the lake, until the tears stole down his cheek ; and 
yet he knew not why. No thoughts of sorrow had flitted 
through his mind, nor indeed had ideas of any description 
occurred to him. It was a trance of unmeaning abstrac- 
tion ; all that he felt was a mystical pleasure in watching 
the sunset, and a conviction that, if he were not with 
Venetia, that which he loved next best, was to be alone. 

The little Cadurcis in general returned home moody and 
silent, and his mother too often, irritated by his demeanour, 



VENETIA. 39 

indulged in all the expressions of a quick and ofibnded 
temper ; but since Ms intimacy with, the Herberts, Planta- 
genet had learnt to control his emotions, and often success- 
fully laboured to prevent those scenes of domestic recrimi- 
nation once so painfully frequent. There often, too, was a 
note from Lady Annabel to Mrs. Cadurcis, or some other 
slight memorial, borne by her son, which enlisted all the 
kind feelings of that lady in favour of her Cherbury friends, 
and then the evening was sure to pass over in peace ; and, 
when Plantagenet was not thus armed, he exerted himself 
to be cordial ; and so, on the whole, with some skill in 
management, and some trials of temper, the mother and 
child contrived to live together with far greater comfort 
than they had of old. 

Bedtime was always a great relief to Plantagenet, for it 
secured him solitude. He would lie awake for hours, in- 
dulging in sweet and unconscious reveries, and brooding 
over the future morn, that always brought happiness. All 
that he used to sigh for, was to be Lady Annabel's son ; 
were he Venetia's brother, then he was snre he never 
should be for a moment unhappy ; that parting frem Cher- 
bury, and the gloomy evenings at Cadurcis, would then be 
avoided. In such a mood, and lying awake upon his pillow, 
he sought refuge from the painful reality that surrounded 
him in the creative solace of his imagination. Alone, in his 
little bed, Cadurcis was Venetia's brother, and he conjured 
up a thousand scenes in which they were never separated, 
and wherein he always played an amiable and graceful part. 
Yet he loved the abbey ; his painful infancy was not asso- 
ciated with that scene ; it was not connected with any of 
those grovelling common-places of his life, from which he 
had shrunk back with instinctive disgust, even at a very 
tender age. Cadurcis was the spot to which, in his most 
miserable moments at Morpeth, he had always looked for- 
ward, as the only chance of emancipation from the distress- 
ing scene that surrounded him. He had been brought up 
with a due sense of his future position, and although he had 



40 VENETIA. 

ever affected a haughty indifference on the subject, from his 
disrelish for the coarse acquaintances who were perpetually 
reminding him, with chuckling self-complacency, of his 
future greatness, in secret he had ever brooded over his 
destiny as his only consolation. He had imbibed from 
his own reflections, at a very early period of life, a due 
sense of the importance of his lot ; he was proud of his 
hereditary honours, blended, as they were, with some 
glorious passages in the history of his country, and prouder 
of his still more ancient line. The eccentric exploits and 
the violent passions, by which his race had been ever cha- 
racterised, were to him a source of secret exultation. Even 
the late lord, who certainly had no claims to his gratitude, 
for he had robbed the inheritance to the utmost of his 
power, commanded, from the wild decision of his life, the 
savage respect of his successor. In vain Mrs. Cadurcis 
would pour forth upon this, the favourite theme for her 
wrath and her lamentations, all the bitter expressions of 
her rage and woe. Plantagenet had never imbibed her 
prejudices against the departed, and had often irritated his 
mother by maintaining that the late lord was perfectly 
justified in his conduct. 

But in these almost daily separations between Plantagenet 
and Venetia, how different was her lot to that of her com- 
panion ! She was the confidante of all his domestic sorrows, 
and often he had requested her to exert her influence to 
obtain some pacifying missive from Lady Annabel, which 
might secure him a quiet evening at Cadurcis ; and when- 
ever this had not been obtained, the last words of Venetia 
were ever not to loiter, and to remember to speak to his 
mother as much as he possibly could. Venetia returned 
to a happy home, welcomed by the smile of a soft and 
beautiful parent, and with words of affection sweeter than 
music. She found an engaging companion, who had no 
thought but for her welfare, her amusement, and her in- 
struction : and often, when the curtains were drawn, the 
candles lit, and Venetia, holding her mother's hand, opened 
her book, she thought of poor Plantagenet, so differently 



VENETIA. 41 

situated, with no one to be kind to him, with no one to 
sympathise with his thoughts, and perhaps at the very mo- 
ment goaded into some unhappy quarrel with his mother. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE appearance of the Cadurcis family on the limited stage 
of her life, and the engrossing society of her companion, 
had entirely distracted the thoughts of Venetia from a sub- 
ject to which in old days they were constantly recurring, 
and that was her father. By a process which had often 
perplexed her, and which she could never succeed in 
analysing, there had arisen in her mind, without any osten- 
sible agency on the part of her mother which she could 
distinctly recall, a conviction that this was a topic on which 
she was never to speak. This idea had once haunted her, 
and she had seldom found herself alone without almost un- 
consciously musing over it. Notwithstanding the unvary- 
ing kindness of Lady Annabel, she exercised over her child 
a complete and unquestioned control. Venetia was brought 
up with strictness, which was only not felt to be severe, 
because the system was founded on the most entire affec- 
tion, but, fervent as her love was for her mother, it was 
equalled by her profound respect, which every word and 
action of Lady Annabel tended to maintain. 

In all the confidential effusions with Plantagenet, Venetia 
had never dwelt upon this mysterious subject ; indeed, in 
these conversations, when they treated of their real and not 
ideal life, Venetia was a mere recipient : all that she could 
communicate, Plantagenet could observe; he it was who 
avenged himself at these moments for his habitual silence 
before third persons ; it was to Venetia that he poured forth 
all his soul, and she was never weary of hearing his stories 
about Morpeth, and all his sorrows, disgusts, and afflictions. 
There was scarcely an individual in that little town with 
whom, from his lively narratives, she was not familiar ; and 
it was to her sympathising heart that he confided all his 



42 VENETIA. 

future hopes and prospects, and confessed the strong pride 
he experienced in being a Cadurcis, which from all others 
was studiously concealed. 

It had happened that the first Christmas Day after the 
settlement of the Cadurcis family at the abbey occurred in 
the middle of the week ; and as the weather was severe, in 
order to prevent two journeys at such an inclement season, 
Lady Annabel persuaded Mrs. Cadurcis to pass the whole 
week at the hall. This arrangement gave such pleasure to 
Plantagenet that the walls of the abbey, as the old post- 
chaise was preparing for their journey, quite resounded with 
his merriment. In vain his mother, harassed with all the 
mysteries of packing, indulged in a thousand irritable ex- 
pressions, which at any other time might have produced a 
broil or even a fray ; Cadurcis did nothing but laugh. There 
was at the bottom of this boy's heart, with all his habitual 
gravity and reserve, a fund of humour which would occa- 
sionally break out, and which nothing could withstand. 
When he was alone with Venetia, he would imitate the old 
maids of Morpeth, and all the ceremonies of a provincial 
tea party, with so much life and genuine fun, that Venetia 
was often obliged to stop in their rambles to indulge her 
overwhelming mirth. When they were alone, and he was 
gloomy, she was often accustomed to say, ' Now, dear Plan- 
tagenet, tell me how the old ladies at Morpeth drink tea.' 

This morning at the abbey, Cadnrcis was irresistible, and 
the more excited his mother became with the difficulties 
which beset her, the more gay and fluent were his quips 
and cranks. Puffing, panting, and perspiring, now direct- 
ing her waiting- woman, now scolding her man-servant, and 
now ineffectually attempting to box her son's ears, Mrs. 
Cadurcis indeed offered a most ridiculous spectacle. 

' John ! ' screamed Mrs. Cadurcis, in a voice of bewildered 
passion, and stamping with rage, ' is that the place for my 
cap-box ? You do it on purpose, that you do ! ' 

' John,' mimicked Lord Cadurcis, ' how dare you do it on 
purpose ? ' 



VENETIA. 43 

' Take that, you brat,' shrieked the mother, and she 
struck her own hand against the doorway. ' Oh ! I'll give 
it you, I'll give it you,' she bellowed under the united in- 
fluence of rage and pain, and she pursued her agile child, 
who dodged her on the other side of the postchaise, which 
he persisted in calling the family carriage. 

! Oh ! ma'am, my lady,' exclaimed the waiting- woman, 
sallying forth from the abbey, ' what is to be done with the 
parrot when we are away ? Mrs. Brown says she won't see 
to it, that she won't ; 'taynt her place.' 

This rebellion of Mrs. Brown was a diversion in favour of 
Plantagenet. Mrs. Cadurcis waddled down the cloisters 
with precipitation, rushed into the kitchen, seized the sur- 
prised Mrs. Brown by the shoulder, and gave her a good 
shake ; and darting at the cage, which held the parrot, she 
bore it in triumph to the carriage. ' I will take the bird 
with me,' said Mrs. Cadurcis. 

' We cannot take the bird inside, madam,' said Planta- 
genet, ' for it will overhear all our conversation, and repeat 
it. We shall not be able to abuse our friends.' 

Mrs. Cadurcis threw the cage at her son's head, who, for 
the sake of the bird, dexterously caught it, but declared at 
the same time he would immediately throw it into the lake. 
Then Mrs. Cadurcis began to cry with rage, and, seating 
herself on the open steps of the chaise, sobbed hysterically. 
Plantagenet stole round on tip-toe, and peeped in her face : 
' A merry Christmas and a happy new year, Mrs. Cadurcis,' 
said her son. 

' How can I be merry and happy, treated as I am ? ' 
sobbed the mother. 'You do not treat Lady Annabel 
so. Oh ! no ; it is only your mother whom you use in this 
manner ! Go to Cherbury. Go by all means, but go by 
yourself; I shall not go : go to your friends, Lord Cadurcis ; 
they are your friends, not mine, and I hope they are satis- 
fied, now that they have robbed me of the affections of my 
child. I have seen what they have been after all this time. 
I am not so blind as some people think. No ! I see how it 



44 VENETIA. 

is. I am nobody. Your poor mother, who brought you 
up, and educated you, is nobody. This is the end of all 
your Latin and French, and your fine lessons. Honour 
your father and your mother, Lord Cadurcis ; that's a finer 
lesson than all. Oh ! oh ! oh ! ' 

This allusion to the Herberts suddenly calmed Planta- 
genet. He felt in an instant the injudiciousness of foster- 
ing by his conduct the latent jealousy which always lurked 
at the bottom of his mother's heart, and which nothing but 
the united talent and goodness of Lady Annabel could have 
hitherto baffled. . So he rejoined in a kind yet playful tone, 
* If you will be good, I will give you a kiss for a Christmas- 
box, mother ; and the parrot shall go inside if you like.' 

' The parrot may stay at home, I do not care about it : 
but I cannot bear quarrelling ; it is not my temper, you 
naughty, very naughty boy.' 

' My dear mother,' continued his lordship, in a soothing 
tone, ' these scenes always happen when people are going 
to travel. I assure you it is quite a part of packing up.' 

' You will be the death of me, that you will,' said the 
mother, 'with all your violence. You are worse than your 
father, that you are.' 

' Come, mother,' said her son, drawing nearer, and just 
touching her shoulder with his hand, 'will you not have 
TQy Christmas-box ? ' . 

The mother extended her cheek, which the son slightly 
touched with his lip, and then Mrs. Cadurcis jumped up as 
lively as ever, called for a glass of Mountain, and began 
rating the footboy. 

At length the postchaise was packed ; they had a long 
journey before them, because Cadurcis would go round by 
Southport, to call upon a tradesman whom a month before 
he had commissioned to get a trinket made for him in 
London, according to the newest fashion, as a present for 
Yenetia. The commission was executed; Mrs. Cadurcis, 
who had been consulted in confidence by her son on the 
subject, was charmed with the result of their united taste. 



VENETIA. 45 

She had good-naturedly contributed one of her own few, 
but fine, emeralds to the gift ; upon the back of the brooch 
was engraved : 

TO YENETIA, FKOM HER AFFECTIONATE BROTHER, PLANTAGENET. 

' I hope she will be a sister, and more than a sister, to 
you,' said Mrs. Cadurcis. 

' Why ? ' inquired her son, rather confused. 

' You may look farther, and fare worse,' said Mrs. Cadurcis. 

Plantagenet blushed ; and yet he wondered why he 
blushed : he understood his mother, but he could not pur- 
sue the conversation ; his heart fluttered. 

A most cordial greeting awaited them at Cherbury ; Dr. 
Masham was there, and was to remain until Monday. Mrs. 
Cadurcis would have opened about the present immediately, 
but her son warned her on the threshold that if she said a 
word about it, or seemed to be aware of its previous ex- 
istence, even when it was shown, he would fling it instantly 
away into the snow; and her horror of this catastrophe 
bridled her tongue. Mrs. Cadurcis, however, was happy, 
and Lady Annabel was glad to see her so ; the Doctor, too, 
paid her some charming compliments ; the good lady was 
in the highest spirits, for she was always in extremes, and 
at this moment she would willingly have laid down her life 
if she had thought the sacrifice could have contributed to 
the welfare of the Herberts. 

Cadurcis himself drew Venetia aside, and then, holding 
the brooch reversed, he said, with rather a confused air, 
' Read that, Venetia.' 

' Oh ! Plantagenet ! ' she said, very much astonished. 

' You see, Venetia,' he added, leaving it in her hand, ' it 
is yours.' 

Venetia turned the jewel ; her eye was dazzled with its 
brilliancy. 

' It is too grand for a little girl, Plantagenet,' she ex- 
claimed, a little pale. 

' No, it is not,' said Plantagenet, firmly ; ' besides, you 



46 VENETIA. 

will not always be a little girl ; and then, if ever we do not 
live together as we do now, you will always remember you 
have a brother.' 

' I must show it mamma ; I must ask her permission to 
take it, Plantagenet.' 

Venetia went up to her mother, who was talking to Mrs. 
Cadurcis. She had not courage to speak before that lady 
and Dr. Masham, so she called her mother aside. 

' Mamma,' she said, ' something has happened.' 

' What, my dear ? ' said Lady Annabel, somewhat sur- 
prised at the seriousness of her tone. 

' Look at this, mamma ! ' said Yenetia, giving her the 
brooch. 

Lady Annabel looked at the jewel, and read the inscrip- 
tion. It was a more precious offering than the mother 
would willingly have sanctioned, but she was too highly 
bred, and too thoughtful of the feelings of others, to hesi- 
tate for a moment to admire it herself, and authorise its 
acceptance by her daughter. So she walked up to Cadurcis 
and gave him a mother's embrace for his magnificent pre- 
sent to his sister, placed the brooch itself near Yenetia's 
heart, and then led her daughter to Mrs. Cadurcis, that the 
gratified mother might admire the testimony of her son's 
taste and affection. It was a most successful present, and 
Cadurcis felt grateful to his mother for her share in its 
production, and the very proper manner in which she re- 
ceived the announcement of its offering 1 . 



CHAPTER X. 

THIS was Christmas Eve ; the snow was falling briskly. 
After dinner they were glad to cluster round the large fire 
in the green drawing-room. Dr. Masham had promised to 
read the evening service in the chapel, which was now lit 
up, and the bell was sounding, that the cottagers might 
have the opportunity of attending. 



VENETIA. 47 

Plantagenet and Venetia followed the elders to the chapel ; 
they walked hand-in-hand down the long galleries. 

' I should like to go all over this house,' said Plantagenet 
to his companion. ' Have you ever been ? ' 

' Never,' said Venetia ; ' half of it is shut up. Nobody 
ever goes into it, except mamma.' 

In the night there was a violent snowstorm ; not only 
was the fall extremely heavy, but the wind was so high, 
that it carried the snow off the hills, and all the roads were 
blocked up, in many places ten or twelve feet deep. All 
communication was stopped. This was an adventure 
that amused the children, though the rest looked rather 
grave. Plantagenet expressed to Yenetia his wish that the 
snow would never melt, and that they might remain at 
Cherbury for ever. 

The children were to have a holiday this week, and they 
had planned some excursions in the park and neighbourhood, 
but now they were all prisoners to the house. They wan- 
dered about, turning the staircase into mountains, the great 
hall into an ocean, and the different rooms into so many 
various regions. They amused themselves with their ad- 
ventures, and went on endless voyages of discovery. Every 
moment Plantagenet longed still more for the opportunity 
of exploring the uninhabited chambers ; but Venetia shook 
her head, because she was sure Lady Annabel would not 
grant them permission. 

' Did you ever live at any place before you came to Cher- 
bury ? ' inquired Lord Cadurcis of Venetia. 

' I know I was not born here,' said Venetia ; ' but I was 
so young that I have no recollection of any other place.' 

' And did any one live here before you came ? ' said Plan- 
tagenet. 

' I do not know,' said Venetia; ' I never heard if anybody 
did. I, I,' she continued, a little constrained, 'I know 
nothing.' 

' Do you remember your papa ? ' said Plantagenet. 

' No,' said Venetia. 



48 VENETIA. 

' Then lie must have died almost as soon as you were born,' 
said Lord Cadurcis. 

' I suppose he must,' said Venetia, and her heart trembled. 

' I wonder if he ever lived here ! ' said Plantagenet. 

'Mamma does not like me to ask questions about my 
papa,' said Venetia, ' and I cannot tell you anything.' 

'Ah ! your papa was different from mine, Venetia,' said 
Cadurcis ; ' my mother talks of him often enough. They 
did not agree very well ; and, when we quarrel, she always 
says I remind her of him. I dare say Lady Annabel loved 
your papa very much.' 

' I am sure mamma did,' replied Venetia. 

The children returned to the drawing-room, and joined 
their friends : Mrs. Cadurcis was sitting on the sofa, occa- 
sionally dozing over a sermon ; Dr. Masham was standing 
with Lady Annabel in the recess of a distant window. Her 
ladyship's countenance was averted ; she was reading a 
newspaper, which the Doctor had given her. As the door 
opened, Lady Annabel glanced round ; her countenance was 
agitated ; she folded up the newspaper rather hastily, and 
gave it to the Doctor. 

'And what have you been doing, little folks ? ' inquired the 
Doctor of the new comers. 

'We have been playing at the history of Rome,' said 
Venetia, ' and now that we have conquered every place, we 
do not know what to do.' 

' The usual result of conquest,' said the Doctor, smiling. 
' This snowstorm is a great trial for you ; I begin to believe 
that, after all, you would be more pleased to take your 
holidays at another opportunity.' 

' We could amuse ourselves very well,' said Plantagenet, 
' if Lady Annabel would be so kind as to permit us to ex- 
plore the part of the house that is shut up.' 

' That would be a strange mode of diversion,' said Lady 
Annabel, quietly, ' and I do not think by any means a suit- 
able one. There cannot be much amusement in roaming 
over a number of dusty unfurnished rooms.' 



VENETIA. 49 

' And so nicely dressed as you are too ! ' said Mrs. Cadurcis, 
rousing herself : 'I wonder how such an idea could enter 
your head ! ' 

' It snows harder than ever,' said Venetia ; ' I think, after 
all, I shall learn my French vocabulary.' 

' If it snows to-morrow,' said Plantagenet, ' we will do our 
lessons as usual. Holidays, I find, are not so amusing as I 
Supposed.' 

The snow did continue, and the next day the children 
voluntarily suggested that they should resume their usual 
course of life. With their mornings occupied, they found 
their sources of relaxation ample ; and in the evening they 
acted plays, and Lady Annabel dressed them up in her 
shawls, and Dr. Masham read Shakspeare to them. 

It was about the fourth day of the visit that Plantagenet, 
loitering in the hall with Venetia, said to her, ' I saw your 
mamma go into the locked-up rooms last night. I do so 
wish that she would let us go there.' 

' Last night ! ' said Yenetia ; ' when could you have seen 
her last night ? ' 

' Very late : the fact is, I could not sleep, and I took it 
into my head to walk up and down the gallery. I often do 
so at the abbey. I like to walk up and down an old gallery 
alone at night. I do not know why; but I like it very much. 
Everything is so still, and then you hear the owls. I cannot 
make out why it is ; but nothing gives me more pleasure 
than to get up when everybody is asleep. It seems as if 
one were the only living person in the world. I sometimes 
think, when I am a man, I will always get up in the night, 
and go to bed in the daytime. Is not that odd ? ' 

' But mamma ! ' said Venetia, ' how came you to see 
mamma ? ' 

' Oh ! I am certain of it,' said the boy ; ' for, to tell you. 
the truth, I was rather frightened at first ; only I thought 
it would not do for a Cadurcis to be afraid, so I stood against 
the wall, in the shade, and I was determined, whatever 
happened, not to cry out.' 

E 



50 VENETIA. 

' Oh ! you frighten me so, Plantagenet ! ' said Venetia. 

'Ah! you might well have been frightened if you had been 
there ; past midnight, a tall white figure, and a light ! How- 
ever, there is nothing to be alarmed about ; it was Lady 
Annabel, nobody else. I saw her as clearly as I see you now. 
She walked along the gallery, and went to the very door 
you showed me the other morning. I marked the door; 
I could not mistake it. She unlocked it, and she went in.' 

'And then ? ' inquired Yenetia, eagerly. 

' Why, then, like a fool, I went back to bed,' said Plan- 
tagenet. ' I thought it would seem so silly if I were caught, 
and I might not have had the good fortune to escape twice. 
I know no more.' 

Venetia could not reply. She heard a laugh, and then 
her mother's voice. They were called with a gay summons 
to see a colossal snow-ball, that some of the younger servants 
had made and rolled to the window of the terrace-room. 
It was ornamented with a crown of holly and mistletoe, and 
the parti- coloured berries looked bright in a straggling sun- 
beam which had fought its way through the still- loaded sky, 
and fell upon the terrace. 

In the evening, as they sat round the fire, Mrs. Cadurcis 
began telling Venetia a long rambling ghost story, which 
she declared was a real ghost story, and had happened in 
her own family. Such communications were not very plea- 
sing to Lady Annabel, but she was too well bred to interrupt 
her guest. When, however, the narrative was finished, and 
Venetia, by her observations, evidently indicated the effect 
that it had produced upon her mind, her mother took the oc- 
casion of impressing upon her the little credibility which 
should be attached to such legends, and the rational process 
by which many unquestionable apparitions might be ac- 
counted for. Dr. Masham, following this train, recounted 
a story of a ghost which had been generally received in a 
neighbouring village for a considerable period, and attested 
by the most veracious witnesses, but which was explained 
afterwards by turning out to be an instance of somnambu- 
lism. Venetia appeared to be extremely interested in the 



VENETIA. 51 

subject ; she inquired much about sleep-walkers and sleep- 
walking ; and a great many examples of the habit were 
cited. At length she said, ' Mamma, did you. ever walk in 
your sleep ? ' 

' Not to my knowledge,' said Lady Annabel, smiling ; ' I 
should hope not.' 

' "Well, do you know,' said Plantagenet, who had hitherto 
listened in silence, ' it is very curious, but I once dreamt 
that you did, Lady Annabel.' 

' Indeed ! ' said the lady. 

' Yes ! and I dreamt it last night, too,' continued Cadurcis. 
' I thought I was sleeping in the uninhabited rooms here, 
and the door opened, and you. walked in with a light.' 

' No ! Plantagenet,' said Venetia, who was seated by him, 
and who spoke in a whisper, ' it was not ' 

' Hush ! ' said Cadurcis, in a low voice. 

' Well, that was a strange dream,' said Mrs. Cadurcis ; 
' was it not, Doctor ? ' 

' Now, children, I will tell you a very curious story,' said 
the Doctor ; ' and it is quite a true one, for it happened to 
myself.' 

The Doctor was soon embarked in his tale, and his 
audience speedily became interested in the narrative ; but 
Lady Annabel for some time maintained complete silence. 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE spring returned; the intimate relations between the 
two families were each day more confirmed. Lady Annabel 
had presented her daughter and Plantagenet each with a 
beautiful pony, but their rides were at first to be confined 
to the park, and to be ever attended by a groom. In time, 
however, duly accompanied, they were permitted to extend 
their progress so far as Cadurcis. Mrs. Cadurcis had con- 
sented to the wishes of her son to restore the old garden, 
and Venetia was his principal adviser and assistant in the 

E 2 



52 VENETIA. 

enterprise. Plantagenet was fond of the abbey, and nothing 
but the agreeable society of Cherbury on the one hand, and 
the relief of escaping from his mother on the other, could 
have induced him to pass so little of his time at home ; but, 
with Venetia for his companion, his mornings at the abbey 
passed charmingly, and, as the days were now at their full 
length again, there was abundance of time, after their studies 
at Cherbury, to ride together through the woods to Cadurcis, 
spend several hours there, and for Venetia to return to the 
hall before sunset. Plantagenet always accompanied her to 
the limits of the Cherbury grounds, and then returned by 
himself, solitary and full of fancies. 

Lady Annabel had promised the children that they should 
some day ride together to Marringhurst, the rectory of Dr. 
Masham, to eat strawberries and cream. This was to be a 
great festival, and was looked forward to with corresponding 
interest. Her ladyship had kindly offered to accompany 
Mrs. Cadurcis in the carriage, but that lady was an invalid 
and declined the journey ; so Lady Annabel, who was her- 
self a good horsewoman, mounted her jennet with Venetia 
and Plantagenet. 

Marringhurst was only five miles from Cherbury by a 
cross-road, which was scarcely passable for carriages. The 
rectory house was a substantial, square-built, red brick 
mansion, shaded by gigantic elms, but the southern front 
covered with a famous vine, trained over it with elaborate 
care, and of which, and his espaliers, the Doctor was very 
proud. The garden was thickly stocked with choice fruit- 
trees ; there was not the slightest pretence to pleasure 
grounds ; but there was a capital bowling-green, and, above 
all, a grotto, where the Doctor smoked his evening pipe, 
and moralised in the midst of his cucumbers and cabbages. 
On each side extended the meadows of his glebe, where his 
kine ruminated at will. It was altogether a scene as devoid 
of the picturesque as any that could be well imagined ; flat, 
but not low, and rich, and green, and still. 

His expected guests met as warm a reception as such a 



VENETIA. 53 

hearty friend might be expected to afford. Dr. Masham was 
scarcely less delighted at the excursion than the children 
themselves, and rejoiced in the sunny day that made every- 
thing more glad and bright. The garden, the grotto, the 
bowling-green, and all the novelty of the spot, greatly di- 
verted his young companions ; they visited his farmyard, 
were introduced to his poultry, rambled over his meadows, 
and admired his cows, which he had collected with equal 
care and knowledge. Nor was the interior of this bachelor's 
residence devoid of amusement. Every nook and corner 
was filled with objects of interest ; and everything was in 
admirable order. The goddess of neatness and precision 
reigned supreme, especially in his hall, which, though barely 
ten feet square, was a cabinet of rural curiosities. His guns, 
his fishing-tackle, a cabinet of birds stuffed by himself, a 
fox in a glass-case that seemed absolutely running, and an 
otter with a real fish in its mouth, in turn delighted them ; 
but chiefly, perhaps, his chimney-corner of Dutch tiles, all 
Scriptural subjects, which "Venetia and Plantagenet emulated 
each other in discovering. 

Then his library, which was rare and splendid, for the 
Doctor was one of the most renowned scholars in the king- 
dom, and his pictures, his prints, and his gold fish, and his 
canary birds ; it seemed they never could exhaust such 
sources of endless amusement ; to say nothing of every other 
room in the house, for, from the garret to the dairy, his 
guests encouraged him in introducing them to every thing, 
every person, and every place. 

'And this is the way we old bachelors contrive to pass 
our lives,' said the good Doctor ; ' and now, my dear lady, 
Goody Blount will give us some dinner.' 

The Doctor's repast was a substantial one ; he seemed re- 
solved, at one ample swoop, to repay Lady Annabel for all 
her hospitality ; and he really took such delight in their 
participation of it, that his principal guest was constrained 
to check herself in more than one warning intimation that 
moderation was desirable, were it only for the sake of the 



54 VEXETIA, 

strawberries and cream. All this time his housekeeper, 
Goody Blount, as he called her, in her lace cap and ruffles, 
as precise and starch as an old picture, stood behind his 
chair with pleased solemnity, directing, with unruffled com- 
posure, the movements of the liveried bumpkin \vho this 
day was promoted to the honour of 'waiting at table.' 

' Come,' said the Doctor, as the cloth was cleared, 'I must 
bargain for one toast, Lady Annabel : " Church and State." ' 

* What is Church and State ? ' said Venetia. 

'As good things, Miss Yenetia, as strawberries and cream,' 
said the Doctor, laughing ; ' and, like them, always best 
united.' 

After their repast, the children went into the garden to 
amuse themselves. They strolled about some time, until 
Plantagenet at length took it into his head that he should 
like to learn to play at bowls ; and he said, if Venetia would 
wait in the grotto, where they then were talking, he would 
run back and ask the Doctor if the servant might teach him. 
He was not long absent ; but appeared, on his return, a 
little agitated. Venetia inquired if he had been successful, 
but he shook his head, and said he had not asked. 

' Why did you not ? ' said Venetia. 

'I did not like,' he replied, looking very serious ; 'some- 
thing happened.' 

' What could have happened ? ' said Venetia. 

* Something strange,' was his answer. 

* Oh, do tell me, Plantagenet ! ' 

' Why,' said he, in a low voice, 'your mamma is crying.' 

' Crying ! ' exclaimed Venetia ; 'my dear mamma crying! 
I must go to her directly.' 

' Hush ! ' said Plantagenet, shaking his head, 'you must 
not go.' 

' I must.' 

' No, you must not go, Venetia,' was his reply; ' I am sure 
she does not want us to know she is crying.' 

' What did she say to you? ' 

' She did not see me ; the Doctor did, and he gave me a 
nod to go away.' 



VENETIA. 55 

* I never saw mamma cry,' said Venetia. 

'Don't you say anything about it, Venetia,' said Planta- 
genet, with a manly air ; 'listen to what I say.' 

' I do, Plantagenet, always ; but still I should like to know 
what mamma can be crying about. Do tell me all about it.' 

' Why, I came to the room by the open windows, and your 
mamma was standing up, with her back to me, and leaning 
on the mantel- piece, with her face in her handkerchief; and 
the Doctor was standing up too, only his back was to the 
fireplace ; and when he saw me, he made me a sign to go 
away, and I went directly.' 

'Are you sure mamma was crying ?' 

'I heard her sob.' 

' I think I shall cry,' said Venetia. 

' You must not ; you must know nothing about it. If you 
let your mamma know that I saw her crying, I shall never 
tell you anything again.' 

' What do you think she was crying about, Plantagenet ? ' 

' I cannot say ; perhaps she had been talking about your 
papa. I do not want to play at bowls now,' added Planta- 
genet ; ' let us go and see the cows.' 

In the course of half an hour the servant summoned the 
children to the house. The horses were ready, and they were 
now to return. Lady Annabel received them with her usual 
cheerfulness. 

' Well, dear children,' said she, ' have you been very much 
amused ? ' 

Venetia ran forward, and embraced her mother with even 
unusual fondness. She was mindful of Plantagenet' s in- 
junctions, and was resolved not to revive her mother's 
grief by any allusion that could recall the past ; but her 
heart was, nevertheless, full of sympathy, and she could not 
have rode home, had she not thus expressed her love for her 
mother. 

With the exception of this strange incident, over which, 
afterwards, Venetia often pondered, and which made her 
rather serious the whole of the ride home, this expedition to 
Marringhurst was a very happy day. 



56 VENETIA. 



CHAPTER XII. 

THIS happy summer was succeeded by a singularly wet 
autumn. Weeks of continuous rain rendered it difficult 
even for the little Cadurcis, who defied the elements, to be 
so constant as heretofore in his daily visits to Cherbury. 
His mother, too, grew daily a greater invalid, and, with 
increasing sufferings and infirmities, the natural captious- 
ness of her temper proportionably exhibited itself. She 
insisted upon the companionship of her son, and that he 
should not leave the house in such unseasonable weather. 
If he resisted, she fell into one of her jealous rages, and 
taunted him with loving strangers better than his own 
mother. Cadurcis, on the whole, behaved very well ; he 
thought of Lady Annabel's injunctions, and restrained his 
passion. Yet he was not repaid for the sacrifice ; his mother 
made no effort to render their joint society agreeable, or 
even endurable. She was rarely in an amiable mood, and 
generally either irritable or sullen. If the weather held up 
a little, and he ventured to pay a visit to Cherbury, he was 
sure to be welcomed back with a fit of passion ; either Mrs. 
Cadurcis was angered for being left alone, or had fermented 
herself into fury by the certainty of his catching a fever. 
If Plantagenet remained at the abbey, she was generally 
sullen ; and, as he himself was naturally silent under any 
circumstances, his mother would indulge in that charming 
monologue, so conducive to domestic serenity, termed 
' talking at a person,' and was continually insinuating that 
she supposed he found it very dull to pass his day with her,, 
and that she dared say that somebody could be lively enough 
if he were somewhere else. 

Cadurcis would turn pale, and bite his lip, and then leave 
the room ; and whole days would sometimes pass with barely 
a monosyllable being exchanged between this parent and 
child. Cadurcis had found some opportunities of pouring 
forth his griefs and mortification into the ear of Venetia, 



VENETIA. 57 

and they had reached her mother; but Lady Annabel, 
though she sympathised with this interesting boy, invari- 
ably counselled duty. The morning studies were aban- 
doned, but a quantity of books were sent over from 
Cherbury for Plantagenet, and Lady Annabel seized every 
opportunity of conciliating Mrs. Cadurcis' temper in favour of 
her child, by the attention which she paid the mother. The 
weather, however, prevented either herself or Venetia from 
visiting the abbey ; and, on the whole, the communications 
between the two establishments and their inmates had be- 
come rare. 

Though now a continual inmate of the abbey, Cadurcis 
was seldom the companion of his mother. They met at 
their meals, and that was all. He entered the room every 
day with an intention of conciliating ; but the mutual 
tempers of the mother and the son were so quick and 
sensitive, that he always failed in his purpose, and could 
only avoid a storm by dogged silence. This enraged Mrs. 
Cadurcis more even than his impertinence ; she had no con- 
duct ; she lost all command over herself, and did not hesitate 
to address to her child terms of reproach and abuse, which a 
vulgar mind could only conceive, and a coarse tongue alone 
express. What a contrast to Cherbury, to the mild mater- 
nal elegance and provident kindness of Lady Annabel, and 
the sweet tones of Venetia's ever- sympathising voice. Ca- 
durcis, though so young, was gifted with an innate fasti- 
diousness, that made him shrink from a rude woman. His 
feelings were different in regard to men ; he sympathised 
at a very early age with the bold and the energetic ; his 
favourites among the peasantry were ever those who excelled 
in athletic sports ; and, though he never expressed the 
opinion, he did not look upon the poacher with the evil eye 
of his class. But a coarse and violent woman jarred even 
his young nerves ; and this woman was his mother, his only 
parent, almost his only relation ; for he had no near relative 
except a cousin whom he had never even seen, the penniless 
orphan of a penniless brother of his father, and who had 



58 VENETIA. 

been sent to sea ; so that, after all, his mother was the only 
natural friend he had. This poor little boy would fly from 
that mother with a sullen brow, or, perhaps, even with a 
harsh and cutting repartee ; and then he would lock himself 
up in his room, and weep. But he allowed no witnesses of 
this weakness. The lad was very proud. If any of the 
household passed by as he quitted the saloon, and stared for 
a moment at his pale and agitated face, he would coin a 
smile for the instant, and say even a kind word, for he was 
very courteous to his inferiors, and all the servants loved 
him, and then take refuge in his solitary woe. 

Relieved by this indulgence of his mortified heart, Cadurcis 
looked about him for resources. The rain was pouring in 
torrents, and the plash of the troubled and swollen lake 
might be heard even at the abbey. At night the rising 
gusts of wind, for the nights were always clear and stormy, 
echoed down the cloisters with a wild moan to which he 
loved to listen. In the morning he beheld with interest the 
savage spoils of the tempest ; mighty branches of trees 
strewn about, and sometimes a vast trunk uprooted from its 
ancient settlement. Irresistibly the conviction impressed 
itself upon his mind that, if he were alone in this old abbey, 
with no mother to break that strange fountain of fancies 
that seemed always to bubble up in his solitude, he might 
be happy. He wanted no companions ; he loved to be 
alone, to listen to the winds, and gaze upon the trees and 
waters, and wander in those dim cloisters and that gloomy 
gallery. 

From the first hour of his arrival he had loved the vene- 
rable hall of his fathers. Its appearance harmonised with 
all the associations of his race. Power and pomp, ancestral 
fame, the legendary respect of ages, all that was great, ex- 
citing, and heroic, all that was marked out from the common- 
place current of human events, hovered round him. In the 
halls of Cadurcis he was the Cadurcis ; though a child, he 
was keenly sensible of his high race ; his whole being sym- 
pathised with their glory ; he was capable of dying sooner 



VENETIA. 59 

than of disgracing them ; and then came the memory of his 
mother's sharp voice and harsh vulgar words, and he shivered 
with disgust. 

Forced into solitude, forced to feed upon his own mind, 
Cadurcis found in that solitude each day a dearer charm, 
and in that mind a richer treasure of interest and curiosity. 
He loved to wander about, dream of the past, and conjure 
up a future as glorious. What was he to be ? What should 
be his career ? Whither should he wend his course ? Even 
at this early age, dreams of far lands flitted over his mind, 
and schemes of fantastic and adventurous life. But now 
he was a boy, a wretched boy, controlled by a vulgar and 
narrow-minded woman ! And this servitude must last for 
years ; yes ! years must elapse before he was his own master. 
Oh! if he could only pass them alone, without a human 
voice to disturb his musings, a single form to distract his 
vision ! 

Under the influence of such feelings, even Cherbury 
figured to his fancy in somewhat faded colours. There, in- 
deed, he was loved and cherished ; there, indeed, no sound 
was ever heard, no sight ever seen, that could annoy or 
mortify the high pitch of his unconscious ideal ; but still. 
even at Cherbury, he was a child. Under the influence of 
daily intercourse, his tender heart had balanced, perhaps 
even outweighed, his fiery imagination. That constant yet 
delicate affection had softened all his soul : he had no time 
but to be grateful and to love. He returned home only to 
muse over their sweet society, and contrast their refined and 
gentle life with the harsh rude hearth that awaited him. 
Whatever might be his reception at home, he was thrown 
back for solace on their memory, not upon his own heart ; 
and he felt the delightful conviction that to-morrow would 
renew the spell whose enchantment had enabled him to en- 
dure the present vexation. But now the magic of that 
intercourse had ceased ; after a few days of restlessness and 
repining, he discovered that he must find in his desolation 
sterner sources of support than the memory of Venetia, and 



60 VENETIA. 

the recollections of the domestic joys of Cherbury. It -was 
astonishing with what rapidity the character of Cadurcis 
developed itself in solitude ; and strange was the contrast 
between the gentle child who, a few weeks before, had 
looked forward with so much interest to accompanying 
"Venetia to a childish festival, and the stern and moody being 
who paced the solitary cloisters of Cadurcis, and then would 
withdraw to his lonely chamber and the amusement of a 
book. He was at this time deeply interested in Purchas's 
Pilgrimage, one of the few books of which the late lord had 
not despoiled him. Narratives of travels and voyages always 
particularly pleased him ; he had an idea that he was laying 
up information which might be useful to him hereafter; 
the Cherbury collection was rich in this class of volumes, 
and Lady Annabel encouraged their perusal. 

In this way many weeks elapsed at the abbey, during 
which the visits of Plantagenet to Cherbury were very few. 
Sometimes, if the weather cleared for an hour during the 
morning, he would mount his pony, and gallop, without 
stopping, to the hall. The rapidity of the motion excited 
his mind ; he fancied himself, as he embraced Venetia, some 
chieftain who had escaped for a moment from his castle to 
visit his mistress ; his imagination conjured up a war between 
the opposing towers of Cadurcis and Cherbury ; and when 
his mother fell into a passion on his return, it passed with 
him only, according to its length and spirit, as a brisk skir- 
mish or a general engagement. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

ONE afternoon, on his return from Cherbury, Plantagenet 
found the fire extinguished in the little room which he had 
appropriated to himself, and where he kept his books. As he 
had expressed his wish to the servant that the fire should 
be kept up, he complained to him of the neglect, but was 
informed, in reply, that the fire had been allowed to go out 



VENETIA. 61 

by liis mother's orders, and that she desired in future that 
he would always read in the saloon. Plaiitagenet had suffi- 
cient self-control to make no observation before the servant, 
and soon after joined his mother, who looked very sullen, 
as if she were conscious that she had laid a train for an 
explosion. 

Dinner was now served, a short and silent meal. Lord 
Cadurcis did not choose to speak because he felt aggrieved, 
and his mother because she was husbanding her energies 
for the contest which she believed impending. At length, 
when the table was cleared, and the servant departed, 
Cadurcis said in a quiet tone, ' I think T. shall write to my 
guardian to-morrow about my going to Eton.' 

' You shall do no such thing,' said Mrs. Cadurcis, bris- 
tling up ; ' I never heard such a ridiculous idea in my life 
as a boy like you writing letters on such subjects to a 
person you have never yet seen. When I think it proper 
that you should go to Eton, I shall write.' 

' I wish you would think it proper now then, ma'am.' 

* I won't be dictated to,' said Mrs. Cadurcis, fiercely. 
' I was not dictating,' replied her son, calmly. 
'You would if you could,' said his mother. 

* Time enough to find fault with me when I do, ma'am.' 
' There is enough to find fault about at all times, sir.' 

' On which side, Mrs. Cadurcis ? ' inquired Plantagenet, 
with a sneer. 

' Don't aggravate me, Lord Cadurcis,' said his mother. 

' How am I aggravating you, ma'am ? ' 

' I won't be answered,' said the mother. 

' I prefer silence myself,' said the son. 

' I won't be insulted in my own room, sir,' said Mrs. 
Cadurcis. 

' I am not insulting you, Mrs. Cadurcis,' said Plantagenet, 
rather fiercely ; ' and, as for your own room, I never wish to 
enter it. Indeed I should not be here at this moment, had 
you not ordered my fire to be put out, and particularly re- 
quested that I should sit in the saloon.' 



62 VENETIA. 

' Oh! you are a vastly obedient person, I dare say,' re- 
plied Mrs. Cadurcis, very pettishly. ' Ho\v long, I should 
like to know, have my requests received such particular 
attention ? Pooh ! ' 

' Well, then, I will order my fire to be lighted again,' 
said Plantagenet. 

' You shall do no such thing,' said the mother ; ' I am 
mistress in this house. No one shall give orders here but 
me, and you may write to your guardian and tell him that, 
if you like.' 

' I shall certainly not write to my guardian for the first 
time,' said Lord Cadurcis, 'about any such nonsense.' 

'Nonsense, sir! Nonsense you said, did you? Your 
mother nonsense ! This is the way to treat a parent, is it ? 
I am nonsense, am I ? I will teach you what nonsense is. 
Nonsense shall be very good sense ; you shall find that, sir, 
that you shall. Nonsense, indeed! I'll write to your 
guardian, that I will! You call your mother nonsense, do 
you ? And where did you learn that, I should like to know? 
Nonsense, indeed! This comes of your going to Cherbury! 
So your mother is nonsense ; a pretty lesson for Lady Anna- 
bel to teach you. Oh ! I'll speak my mind to her, that I will.' 

' What has Lady Annabel to do with it ? ' inquired 
Cadurcis, in a loud tone. 

' Don't threaten me, sir,' said Mrs. Cadurcis, with violent 
gesture. ' I won't be menaced ; I won't be menaced by my 
son. Pretty goings on, indeed ! But I will put a stop to 
them ; will I not ? that is all. Nonsense, indeed ; your 
mother nonsense ! ' 

' Well, you do talk nonsense, and the greatest,' said 
Plantagenet, doggedly ; ' you are talking nonsense now, jon 
are always talking nonsense, and you never open your 
mouth about Lady Annabel without talking nonsense.' 

' If I was not very ill I would give it you,' said his 
mother, grinding her teeth. ' O you brat ! You wicked 
brat, you ! Is this the way to address me ? I have half a 
mind to shake your viciousness out of you, that I have! 



VENETIA. 63 

You are worse than your father, that you are ! ' and here 
she wept with rage. 

' I dare say my father was not so bad, after all ! ' said 
Cadurcis. 

' What should you know about your father, sir ? ' said 
Mrs. Cadurcis. ' How dare you speak about your father!' 

' Who should speak about a father but a son ? ' 

' Hold your impudence, sir ! ' 

' I am not impudent, ma'am.' 

' Tou aggravating brat ! ' exclaimed the enraged woman. 
' I wish I had something to throw at you! ' 

' Did you throw things at my father ? ' asked his lordship. 

Mrs. Cadurcis went into an hysterical rage ; then, sud- 
denly jumping up, she rushed at her son. Lord Cadurcis 
took up a position behind the table, but the sportive and 
mocking air which he generally instinctively assumed on 
these occasions, and which, while it irritated his mother 
more, was in reality affected by the boy from a sort of 
nervous desire of preventing these dreadful exposures from 
assuming a too tragic tone, did not characterise his coun- 
tenance on the present occasion ; on the contrary, it was 
pale, but composed and very serious. Mrs. Cadurcis, after 
one or two ineffectual attempts to catch him, paused and 
panted for breath. He took advantage of this momentary 
cessation, and spoke thus, ' Mother, I am in no humour for 
frolics. I moved out of your way that you might not strike 
me, because I have made up my mind that, if you ever 
strike me again, I will live with you no longer. Now, I 
have given you warning ; do what you please ; I shall sit 
down in this chair, and not move. If you strike me, you 
know the consequences.' So saying, his lordship resumed 
his chair. 

Mrs. Cadurcis simultaneously sprang forward and boxed 
his ears ; and then her son rose without the slightest ex- 
pression of any kind, and slowly quitted the chamber. 

Mrs. Cadurcis remained alone in a savage sulk ; hours 
passed away, and her son never made his appearance. 



4 VENETIA. 

Then slie rang the bell, and ordered the servant to tell 
Lord Cadurcis that tea was ready ; but the servant re- 
turned, and reported that his lordship had locked himself 
up in his room, and would not reply to his inquiries. De- 
termined not to give in, Mrs. Cadurcis, at length, retired 
for the night, rather regretting her violence, but still 
sullen. Having well scolded her waiting-woman, she at 
length fell asleep. 

The morning brought breakfast, but no Lord Cadurcis ; 
in vain were all the messages of his mother, her son would 
make no reply to them. Mrs. Cadurcis, at length, person- 
ally repaired to his room and knocked at the door, but she 
was as unsuccessful as the servants ; she began to think he 
would starve, and desired the servant to offer from himself 
to bring his meal. Still silence. Indignant at his treat- 
ment of these overtures of conciliation, Mrs. Cadurcis re- 
turned to the saloon, confident that hunger, if no other 
impulse, would bring her wild cub out of his lair ; but, just be- 
fore dinner, her waiting- woman came running into the room. 

' Oh, ma'am, ma'am, I don't know where Lord Cadurcis 
has gone ; but I have just seen John, and he says there 
was no pony in the stable this morning.' 

' Mrs. Cadurcis sprang up, rushed to her son's chamber, 
found the door still locked, ordered it to be burst open, and 
then it turned out that his lordship had never been there at 
all, for the bed was unused. Mrs. Cadurcis was frightened 
out of her life ; the servants, to console her, assured her 
that Plantagenet must be at Cherbury ; and while she be- 
lieved their representations, which were probable, she 
became not only more composed, but resumed her jealousy 
and sullenness. ' Gone to Cherbury, indeed ! No doubt of 
it ! Let him remain at Cherbury.' Execrating Lady Anna- 
bel, she flung herself into an easy chair, and dined alone, 
preparing herself to speak her mind on her son's return. 

The night, however, did not bring him, and Mrs. Cadurcis 
began to recur to her alarm. Much as she now disliked 
Lady Annabel, she could not resist the conviction that her 
ladyship would not permit Plantagenet to remain at Cher- 



VENETIA. 65 

bury. Nevertheless, jealous, passionate, and obstinate, she 
stifled her fears, vented her spleen on her unhappy domestics, 
and, finally, exhausting herself by a storm of passion about 
some very unimportant subject, again sought refuge in sleep. 

She awoke early in a fright, and inquired immediately 
for her son. He had not been seen. She ordered the 
abbey bell to be sounded, sent messengers throughout the 
demesne, and directed all the offices to be searched. At 
first she thought he must have returned, and slept, perhaps 
in a barn ; then she adopted the more probable conclusion, 
that he had drowned himself in the lake. Then she went 
into hysterics ; called Plantagenet her lost darling ; de- 
clared he was the best and most dutiful of sons, and the 
image of his poor father, then abused all the servants, and 
then abused herself. 

About noon she grew quite distracted, and rushed about 
the house with her hair dishevelled, and in a dressing-gown, 
looked in all the closets, behind the screens, under the 
chairs, into her work-box, but, strange to say, with no suc- 
cess. Then she went off into a swoon, and her servants, 
alike frightened about master and mistress, mother and son, 
dispatched a messenger immediately to Cherbury for intel- 
ligence, advice, and assistance. In less than an hour's 
time the messenger returned, and informed them that Lord 
Cadurcis had not been at Cherbury since two days back, 
but that Lady Annabel was very sorry to hear that their 
mistress was so ill, and would come on to see her imme- 
diately. In the meantime, Lady Annabel added that she 
had sent to Dr. Masham, and had great hopes that Lord 
Cadurcis was at Marringhurst. Mrs. Cadurcis, who had 
now come to, as her waiting- woman described the return- 
ing consciousness of her mistress, eagerly embraced the 
hope held out of Plantagenet being at Marringhurst, 
poured forth a thousand expressions of gratitude, admira- 
tion, and affection for Lady Annabel, who, she declared, 
was her best, her only friend, and the being in the world 
whom she loved most, next to her unhappy and injured child. 



66 VENETIA. 

After another hour of suspense Lady Annabel arrived, 
and her entrance was the signal for a renewed burst of 
hysterics from Mrs. Cadurcis, so wild and terrible that 
they must have been contagious to any female of less dis- 
ciplined emotions than her guest. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

TOWAKDS evening Dr. Masham arrived at Cadurcis. He 
could give no intelligence of Plantagenet, who had not 
called at Marringhurst ; but he offered, and was prepared, 
to undertake his pursuit. The good Doctor had his saddle- 
bags well stocked, and was now on his way to Southport, 
that being the nearest town, and where he doubted not to 
gain some tidings of the fugitive. Mrs. Cadurcis he found 
so indisposed, that he anticipated the charitable intentions 
of Lady Annabel not to quit her ; and after having bid 
them place their confidence in Providence and his humble 
exertions, he at once departed on his researches. 

In the meantime let us return to the little lord himself. 
Having secured the advantage of a long start, by the device 
of turning the key of his chamber, he repaired to the stables, 
and finding no one to observe him, saddled his pony and 
galloped away without plan or purpose. An instinctive 
love of novelty and adventure induced him to direct his 
course by a road which he had never before pursued ; and, 
nfter two or three miles progress through a wild open 
country of brushwood, he found that he had entered that 
considerable forest which formed the boundary of many of 
the views from Cadurcis. The afternoon was clear and 
still, the sun shining in the light blue sky, and the wind 
altogether hushed. On each side of the winding road 
spread the bright green turf, occasionally shaded by pic- 
turesque groups of doddered oaks. The calm beauty of 
the sylvan scene wonderfully touched the fancy of the 
youthful fugitive ; it soothed and gratified him. He pulled 
up his pony ; patted itslively neck, as if in gratitude for 



VENETIA. 67 

its good service, and, confident that he could not be suc- 
cessfully pursued, indulged in a thousand dreams of Robin 
Hood and his merry men. As for his own position and 
prospects, he gave himself no anxiety about them : satisfied 
with his escape from a revolting thraldom, his mind seemed 
to take a bound from the difficulty of his situation and the 
wildness of the scene, and he felt himself a man, and one, 
too, whom nothing could daunt or appal. 

Soon the road itself quite disappeared and vanished in a 
complete turfy track ; but the continuing marks of cart- 
wheels assured him that it was a thoroughfare, although he 
was now indeed journeying in the heart of a forest of oaks, 
and he doubted not it would lead to some town or village, 
or at any rate to some farmhouse. Towards sunset, he de- 
termined to make use of the remaining light, and pushed 
on apace ; but it soon grew so dark, that he found it neces- 
sary to resume his walking pace, from fear of the over- 
hanging branches and the trunks of felled trees which occa- 
sionally crossed his way. 

Notwithstanding the probable prospect of passing his 
night in the forest, our little adventurer did not lose heart. 
Cadurcis was an intrepid child, and when in the company 
of those with whom he was not familiar, and free from those 
puerile associations to which those who had known and 
lived with him long were necessarily subject, he would 
assume a staid and firm demeanour unusual with one of 
such tender years. A light in the distance was now not 
only a signal that the shelter he desired was at hand, but 
reminded him that it was necessary, by his assured port, 
to prove that he was not unused to travel alone, and that 
he was perfectly competent and qualified to be his own 
master. 

As he drew nearer, the lights multiplied, and the moon, 
which now rose over the forest, showed to him that the 
trees, retiring on both sides to some little distance, left a 
circular plot of ground, on which were not only the lights 
which had at first attracted his attention, but the red flames 

F 2 



68 VENETIA. 

of a watch-fire, round which some dark figures had hitherto 
been clustered. The sound of horses' feet had disturbed 
them, and the fire was now more and more visible. As 
Cadnrcis approached, he observed some low tents, and in a 
few minutes he was in the centre of an encampment of gip- 
sies. He was for a moment somewhat dismayed, for he had 
been brought up with the usual terror of these wild people ; 
nevertheless, he was not unequal to the occasion. He was 
surrounded in an instant, but only with women and chil- 
dren ; for the gipsy -men never immediately appear. They 
smiled with their bright eyes, and the flames of the watch- 
fire threw a lurid glow over their dark and flashing coun- 
tenances ; they held out their practised hands ; they uttered 
unintelligible, but not unfriendly sounds. The heart of 
Cadurcis faltered, but his voice did not betray him. 

' I am cold, good people,' said the undaunted boy ; ' will 
you let me warm myself by your fire ? ' 

A beautiful girl, with significant gestures, pressed her 
hand to her heart, then pointed in the direction of the tents, 
and then rushed away, soon reappearing with a short thin 
man, inclining to middle age, but of a compact and appa- 
rently powerful frame, lithe, supple, and sinewy. His com- 
plexion was dark, but clear ; his eye large, liquid, and black ; 
but his other features small, though precisely moulded. He 
wore a green jacket and a pair of black velvet breeches, his 
legs and feet being bare, with the exception of slippers. 
Bound his head was twisted a red handkerchief, which, 
perhaps, might not have looked like a turban on a counte- 
nance less oriental. 

' What would the young master ? ' inquired the gipsy- 
man, in a voice far from disagreeable, and with a gesture 
of courtesy ; but, at the same time, he shot a scrutinising 
glance first at Plantagenet, and then at his pony. 

' I would remain with you,' said Cadurcis ; ' that is, if 
you will let me.' 

The gipsy- man made a sign to the women, and Planta- 
genet was lifted by them off his pony, before he could be 



VENETIA. 69 

aware of their purpose ; the children led the pony away, 
and the gipsy-man conducted Plaiitagenet to the fire, where 
an old .woman sat, presiding over the mysteries of an enor- 
mous flesh-pot. Immediately his fellows, who had origi- 
nally been clustered around it, re-appeared ; fresh blocks 
and branches were thrown on, the flames crackled and rose, 
the men seated themselves around, and Plantagenet, excited 
by the adventure, rubbed his hands before the fire, and de- 
termined to fear nothing. 

A savoury steam exuded from the flesh-pot. 

' That smells well,' said Plantagenet. 

' "Pis a dimber cove,' * whispered one of the younger men 
to a companion. 

' Our supper has but rough seasoning for such as you,' 
said the man who had first saluted him, and who was ap- 
parently the leader; ' but the welcome is hearty.' 

The woman and girls now came with wooden bowls and 
platters, and, after serving the men, seated themselves in. 
an exterior circle, the children playing round them. 

' Come, old mort,' said the leader, in a very different tone 
to the one in which he addressed his young guest, ' tout the 
cobble-colter ; are we to have darkmans upon us ? And, 
Beruna, flick the panam.' f 

Upon this, that beautiful girl, who had at first attracted 
the notice of Cadurcis, called out in a sweet lively voice, 
' Ay ! ay ! Morgana ! ' and in a moment handed over the 
heads of the women a pannier of bread, which the leader 
took, and offered its contents to our fugitive. Cadurcis 
helped himself, with a bold but gracious air. The pannier 
was then passed round, and the old woman, opening the 
pot, drew out, with a huge iron fork, a fine turkey, which 
she tossed into a large wooden platter, and cut up with 
great quickness. First she helped Morgana, but only gained 
a reproof for her pains, who immediately yielded his portion 
to Plantagenet. Each man was provided with his knife, but 

* 'Tis a lively lad. 

t Come, old woman, look after the turkey. Are we to wait till night? 
And, Beruna, cut the bread. 



70 VENETIA. 

the guest had none. Morgana immediately gave up his 
own. 

' Beruna! ' he shouted, 'gibel a chiv for the gentry cove.'* 

' Ay ! ay ! Morgana ! ' said the girl ; and she brought 
the knife to Plantagenet himself, saying at the same time, 
with sparkling eyes, ' Yam, yam, gentry cove.' f 

Cadurcis really thought it was the most delightful meal 
he had ever made in his life. The flesh-pot held something 
besides turkeys. Rough as was the fare, it was good and 
plentiful. As for beverage, they drank humpty-dumpty, 
which is ale boiled with brandy, and which is not one of the 
slightest charms of a gipsy's life. When the men were 
satisfied, their platters were filled, and given to the women 
and children ; and Beruna, with her portion, came and 
seated herself by Plantagenet, looking at him with a blen- 
ded glance of delight and astonishment, like a beautiful 
young savage, and then turning to her female companions 
to stifle a laugh. The flesh-pot was carried away, the men 
lit their pipes, the fire was replenished, its red shadow 
mingled with the silver beams of the moon ; around were the 
glittering tents and the silent woods ; on all sides flashing 
eyes and picturesque forms. Cadurcis glanced at his com- 
panions, and gazed upon the scene with feelings of ravish- 
ing excitement ; and then, almost unconscious of what he 
was saying, exclaimed, ' At length I have found the life 
that suits me ! ' 

' Indeed, squire ! ' said Morgana. ' Would you be one 
of us ? ' 

' From this moment,' said Cadurcis, ' if you will admit 
me to your band. But what can I do ? And I have nothing 
to give you. You must teach me to earn my right to our 
supper.' 

' We'll make a Turkey merchant J of you yet,' said an 
old gipsy, ' never fear that.' 

' Bah, Peter ! ' said Morgana, with an angry look, ' your 

* Bring a knife for the gentleman. 

t Eat, eat, gentleman. J i. e. We will teach you to steal a turkey 



VENETIA. 71 

red rag will never lie still. And what was the purpose of 
your present travel ? ' lie continued to Plantagenet. 

' None ; I was sick of silly home.' 

' The gentry cove will be romboyled by his dam,' said a 
third gipsy. ' Queer Cuffin will be the word yet, if we don't 
tout.' * 

' Well, you shall see a little more of us before you decide,' 
said Morgana, thoughtfully, and turning the conversation. 
' Beruna.' 

' Ay ! ay ! Morgana ! ' 

' Tip me the clank, like a dimber mort as you are ; trim 
a ken for the gentry cove ; he is no lanspresado, or I am a 
kinchin.' "f 

' Ay ! ay ! Morgana,' gaily exclaimed the girl, and she 
ran off to prepare a bed for the Lord of Cadurcis. 



CHAPTER XV. 

DR. MASHAM could gain no tidings of the object of his 
pursuit at Southport : here, however, he ascertained that 
Plantagenet could not have fled to London, for in those 
days pubKc conveyances were rare. There was only one 
coach that ran, or rather jogged, along this road, and it 
went but once a week, it being expected that very night ; 
while the innkeeper was confident that so far as Southport 
was concerned, his little lordship had not sought refuge in 
the waggon, which was more frequent, though somewhat 
slower, in its progress to the metropolis. Unwilling to 
return home, although the evening was now drawing in, 
the Doctor resolved to proceed to a considerable town about 
twelve miles further, which Cadurcis might have reached 
by a cross road ; so drawing his cloak around him, looking 

* His mother will make a hue and cry after the gentleman yet ; 
justice of the peace will be the word, if we don't look sharp. 

t Give me the tankard, like a pretty girl. Get a bed ready for the 
gentleman. He is no informer, or I am an infant. 



72 VENETIA. 

to Ms pistols, and desiring his servant to follow his ex- 
ample, the stout-hearted Rector of Marringhurst pursued 
his way. 

It was dark when the Doctor entered the town, and he 
proceeded immediately to the inn where the coach was ex- 
pected, with some faint hope that the fugitive might be 
discovered abiding within its walls ; but, to all his inquiries 
about young gentlemen and ponies, he received very un- 
satisfactory answers ; so, reconciling himself as well as he 
could to the disagreeable posture of affairs, he settled him- 
self in the parlour of the inn, with a good fire, and, lighting 
his pipe, desired his servant to keep a sharp look-out. 

In due time a great uproar in the inn-yard announced 
the arrival of the stage, an unwieldy machine, carrying six 
inside, and dragged by as many horses. The Doctor, open- 
ing the door of his apartment, which led on to a gallery 
that ran round the inn-yard, leaned over the balustrade 
with his pipe in his mouth, and watched proceedings. It 
so happened that the stage was to discharge one of its pas- 
sengers at this town, who had come from the north, and the 
Doctor recognised in him a neighbour and brother magis- 
trate, one Squire Mountmeadow, an important personage in 
his way, the terror of poachers, and somewhat of an oracle 
on the bench, as it was said that he could take a deposition 
without the assistance of his clerk. Although, in spite of 
the ostler's lanterns, it was very dark, it was impossible 
ever to be unaware of the arrival of Squire Mountmeadow ; 
for he was one of those great men who take care to remind 
the world of their dignity by the attention which they re- 
quire on every occasion. 

' Coachman ! ' said the authoritative voice of the Squire. 
' Where is the coachman ? Oh ! you are there, sir, are 
you ? Postilion ! Where is the postilion ? Oh ! you are 
there, sir, are you ? Host ! Where is the host ? Oh ! 
you are there, sir, are you ? Waiter ! Where is the 
waiter ? I say where is the waiter ? ' 

' Coming, please your worship ! ' 






VENETIA. 73 

' How long am I to wait ? Oh ! you are there, sir, are 
you ? Coachman ! ' 

' Your worship ! ' 

' Postilion ! ' 

' Yes, your worship ! ' 

' Host ! ' 

' Your worship's servant ! ' 

'Waiter!' 

' Your worship's honour's humble servant ! ' 

1 1 am going to alight ! ' 

All four attendants immediately bowed, and extended 
their arms to assist this very great man ; but Squire Mount- 
meadow, scarcely deigning to avail himself of their proffered 
assistance, and pausing on each step, looking around him 
with his long, lean, solemn visage, finally reached terra 
firma in safety, and slowly stretched his tall, ungainly 
figure. It was at this moment that Dr. Masham's servant 
approached him, and informed his worship that his master 
was at the inn, and would be happy to see him. The coun- 
tenance of the great Mountmeadow relaxed at the mention 
of the name of a brother magistrate, and in an audible voice 
he bade the groom ' tell my worthy friend, his worship, 
your worthy master, that I shall be rejoiced to pay my re- 
spects to an esteemed neighbour and a brother magistrate.' 

With slow and solemn steps, preceded by the host, and 
followed by the waiter, Squire Mountmeadow ascended the 
staircase of the external gallery, pausing occasionally, and 
looking around him with thoughtful importance, and making 
an occasional inquiry as to the state of the town and neigh- 
bourhood during his absence, in this fashion : ' Stop ! 
where are you, host ? Oh ! you are there, sir, are you ? 
Well, Mr. Host, and how have we been ? orderly, eh ? ' 

' Quite orderly, your worship.' 

' Hoh ! Orderly ! Hem ! Well, very well ! Never easy, 
if absent only four-and-twenty hours. The law must be 
obeyed.' 

' Yes, your worship.' 



74 VENETIA. 

' Lead on, sir. And, waiter ; where are you, waiter ? 
Oh ! you are there, sir, are you ? And so my brother 
magistrate is here ? ' 

' Yes, your honour's worship.' 

' Hem ! What can he want ? something in the wind ; 
wants my advice, I dare say ; shall have it. Soldiers ruly ; 
king's servants ; must be obeyed.' 

' Yes, your worship ; quite ruly, your worship,' said the 
host. 

' As obliging and obstreperous as can be,' said the waiter. 

' Well, very well ; ' and here the Sqnire had gained the 
gallery, where the Doctor was ready to receive him. 

' It always gives me pleasure to meet a brother magis- 
trate,' said Squire Mountmeadow, bowing with cordial con- 
descension ; ' and a gentleman of yonr cloth, too. The clergy 
must be respected ; I stand or fall by the Church. After 
yon, Doctor, after you.' So saying, the two magistrates 
entered the room. 

1 An unexpected pleasure, Doctor,' said the Squire ; ' and 
what brings your worship to town ? ' 

' A somewhat strange business,' said the Doctor ; ' and 
indeed I am not a little glad to have the advantage of your 
advice and assistance.' 

* Hem ! I thought so,' said the Squire ; 'your worship is 
very complimentary. What is the case ? Larceny ? ' 

* Nay, my good sir, 'tis a singular affair ; and, if you 
please, we will order supper first, and discuss it afterwards. 
'Tis for your private ear.' 

' Oh ! ho ! ' said the Squire, looking very mysterious and 
important. 'With your worship's permission,' he added, 
fining a pipe. 

The host was no laggard in waiting on two such impor- 
tant guests. The brother magistrates despatched their 
rump-steak ; the foaming tankard was replenished ; the fire 
renovated. At length, the table and the room being alike 
clear, Squire Mountmeadow drew a long puff, and said, 
' Now for business, Doctor.' 



VENETIA. 75 

His companion then informed him of the exact object of 
his visit, and narrated to him so much of the preceding in- 
cidents as was necessary. The Squire listened in solemn 
silence, elevating his eyebrows, nodding his head, trimming 
his pipe, with profound interjections ; and finally, being ap- 
pealed to for his opinion by the Doctor, delivered himself 
of a most portentous ' Hem ! ' 

' I question, Doctor,' said the Squire, 'whether we should 
not communicate with the Secretary of State. 'Tis no 
ordinary business. 'Tis a spiriting away of a Peer of the 
realm. It smacks of treason.' 

' Egad ! ' said the Doctor, suppressing a smile, ' I think 
we can hardly make a truant boy a Cabinet question.' 

The Squire glanced a look of pity at his companion. 
' Prove the truancy, Doctor ; prove it. 'Tis a case of dis- 
appearance ; and how do we know that there is not a Jesuit 
at the bottom of it ? ' 

' There is something in that,' said the Doctor. 

4 There is everything in it,' said the Squire, triumphantly. 
' We must offer rewards ; we must raise the posse comi- 
tatus.' 

' For the sake of the family, I would make as little stir as 
necessary,' said Dr. Masham. 

' For the sake of the family ! ' said the Squire. ' Think 
of the nation, sir ! For the sake of the nation we must 
make as much stir as possible. 'Tis a Secretary of State's 
business ; 'tis a case for a general warrant.' 

'He is a well-meaning lad enough,' said the Doctor. 

'Ay, and therefore more easily played upon,' said the 
Squire. ' Rome is at the bottom of it, brother Masham, 
and I am surprised that a good Protestant like yourself, 
one of the King's Justices of the Peace, and a Doctor of 
Divinity to boot, should doubt the fact for an instant.' 

' We have not heard much of the Jesuits of late years,' 
said the Doctor. 

The very reason that they are more active,' said the 
Squire. 



76 YENETIA. 

' An only child ! ' said Dr. Masham. 

' A Peer of the realm ! ' said Squire Mountmeadow. 

' I should think he must be in the neighbourhood.' 

' More likely at St. Omer's.' 

' They would scarely take him to the plantations with 
this war ? ' 

' Let us drink " Confusion to the rebels ! " ' said the 
Squire. ' Any news ? ' 

' Howe sails this week,' said the Doctor. 

' May he burn Boston ! ' said the Squire. 

' I would rather he would reduce it, without such ex- 
tremities,' said Dr. Masham. 

'Nothing is to be done without extremities,' said Squire 
Mountmeadow. 

' But this poor child ? ' said the Doctor, leading back the 
conversation. * What can we do ? ' 

' The law of the case is clear,' said the Squire ; ' we must 
move a habeas corpus.' 

' But shall we be nearer getting him for that ? ' inquired 
the Doctor. 

' Perhaps not, sir ; but 'tis the regular way. "We must 
proceed by rule.' 

' I am sadly distressed,' said Dr. Masham. ' The worst 
is, he has gained such a start upon us; and yet he can 
hardly have gone to London ; he would have been recog- 
nised here or at Southport.' 

' With his hair cropped, and in a Jesuit's cap ? ' inquired 
the Squire, with a slight sneer. ' Ah ! Doctor, Doctor, you 
know not the gentry you have to deal with ! ' 

'We must hope,' said Dr. Masham. 'To-morrow we 
must organise some general search.' 

' I fear it will be of no use,' said the Squire, replenishing 
his pipe. ' These Jesuits are deep fellows.' 

' But we are not sure about the Jesuits, Squire.' 
' I am,' said the Squire ; ' the case is clear, and the 
sooner you break it to his mother the better. You asked 
me for my advice, and I give it you.' 



VENETIA. 77 



CHAPTER XVI. 

IT was on the following morning, as the Doctor was under 
the operation of the barber, that his groom ran into the room 
with a pale face and agitated air, and exclaimed, 

' Oh ! master, master, what do you think ? Here is a man 
in the yard with my lord's pony.' 

' Stop him, Peter,' exclaimed the Doctor. ' No ! watch 
him, watch him ; send for a constable. Are you certain 'tis 
the pony ? ' 

' I could swear to it out of a thousand,' said Peter. 

' There, never mind my beard, my good man,' said the 
Doctor. ' There is no time for appearances. Here is a 
robbery, at least ; God grant no worse. Peter, my boots ! ' 
So saying, the Doctor, half equipped, and followed by Peter 
and the barber, went forth on the gallery. ' Where is he ? ' 
said the Doctor. 

' He is down below, talking to the ostler, and trying to 
sell the pony,' said Peter. 

' There is no time to lose,' said the Doctor ; ' follow me, 
like true men : ' and the Doctor ran downstairs in his silk 
nightcap, for his wig was not yet prepared. 

' There he is,' said Peter ; and true enough there was a 
man in a smock-frock and mounted on the very pony which 
Lady Annabel had presented to Plantagenet. 

' Seize this man in the King's" name,' said the Doctor, 
hastily advancing to him. ' Ostler, do your duty ; Peter, 
be firm. I charge you all ; I am a justice of the peace. I 
charge you arrest this man.' 

The man seemed very much astonished ; but he was com- 
posed, and offered no resistance. He was dressed like a 
small farmer, in top-boots and a smock-frock. His hat was 
rather jauntily placed on his curly red hair. 

' Why am I seized ? ' at length said the man. 

' Where did you get that pony ? ' said the Doctor. 

' I bought it,' was the reply. 



78 VENETIA. 

'Of whom?' 

' A stranger at market.' 

' You are accused of robbery, and suspected of murder, 
said Dr. Masham. ' Mr. Constable,' said the Doctor, turn- 
ing to that functionary, who had now arrived, ' handcuff 
this man, and keep him in strict custody until further 
orders.' 

The report that a man was arrested for robbery, and 
suspected of murder, at the Red Dragon, spread like wild- 
fire through the town ; and the inn-yard was soon crowded 
with the curious and excited inhabitants. 

Peter and the barber, to whom he had communicated 
everything, were well qualified to do justice to the im- 
portant information of which they were the sole deposi- 
taries ; the tale lost nothing by their telling ; and a circum- 
stantial narrative of the robbery and murder of no less a 
personage than Lord Cadurcis, of Cadurcis Abbey, was 
soon generally prevalent. 

The stranger was secured in a stable, before which the 
constable kept guard ; mine host, and the waiter, and the 
ostlers acted as a sort of supernumerary police, to repress 
the multitude ; while Peter held the real pony by the 
bridle, whose identity, which he frequently attested, was 
considered by all present as an incontrovertible evidence of 
the commission of the crime. 

In the meantime Dr. Masham, really agitated, roused his 
brother magistrate, and communicated to his worship the 
important discovery. The Squire fell into a solemn flutter. 
' We must be regular, brother Masham ; we must proceed 
by rule ; we are a bench in ourselves. Would that my 
clerk were here ! We must send for Signsealer forthwith. 
I will not decide without the statutes. The law must be 
consulted, and it must be obeyed. The fellow hath not 
brought my wig. 'Tis a case of murder no doubt. A Peer 
of the realm murdered ! You must break the intelligence 
to his surviving parent, and I will communicate to the 
Secretary of State. Can the body be found ? That will 



VENETIA. 79 

prove the murder. Unless the body be found, the murdei- 
will not be proved, save the villain confess, -which he will 
not do unless he hath sudden compunctions. I have known 
sudden compunctions go a great way. We had a case 
before our bench last month ; there was no evidence. It 
was not a case of murder ; it was of woodcutting ; there 
was no evidence ; but the defendant had compunctions. 
Oh ! here is my wig. We must send for Signsealer. He 
is clerk to our bench, and he must bring the statutes. "Tis 
not simple murder this ; it involves petty treason.' 

By this time his worship had completed his toilet, and ho 
and his colleague took their way to the parlour they had 
inhabited the preceding evening. Mr. Signsealer was in 
attendance, much to the real, though concealed, satisfaction 
of Squire Mountmeadow. Their worships were seated like 
two consuls before the table, which Mr. Signsealer had 
duly arranged with writing materials and various piles of 
calf-bound volumes. Squire Mountmeadow then, arranging 
his countenance, announced that the bench was prepared, 
and mine host was instructed forthwith to summon the 
constable and his charge, together with Peter and the 
ostler as witnesses. There was a rush among some of the 
crowd who were nighest the scene to follow the prisoner 
into the room ; and, sooth to say, the great Mountmeadow 
was much too enamoured of his own self-importance to be 
by any means a patron of close courts and private hearings ; 
but then, though he loved his power to be witnessed, he 
was equally desirous that his person should be reverenced. 
It was his boast that he could keep a court of quarter 
sessions as quiet as a church ; and now, when the crowd 
rushed in with all those sounds of tumult incidental to such 
a movement, it required only Mountmeadow slowly to rise, 
and drawing himself up to the full height of his gaunt 
figure, to knit his severe brow, and throw one of his pecu- 
liar looks around the chamber, to insure a most awful still- 
ness. Instantly everything was so hushed, that you might 
have heard Signsealer nib his pen. 



80 VENETIA. 

The witnesses were sworn ; Peter proved that the pony 
belonged to Lord Cadurcis, and that his lordship had been 
missing from home for several days, and was believed to 
have quitted the abbey on this identical pony. Dr. Masham 
was ready, if necessary, to confirm this evidence. The ac- 
cused adhered to his first account, that he had purchased 
the animal the day before at a neighbouring fair, and dog- 
gedly declined to answer any cross-examination. Squire 
Mountmeadow looked alike pompous and puzzled ; whis- 
pered to the Doctor ; and then shook his head at Mr. Sign- 
sealer. 

' I doubt whether there be satisfactory evidence of the 
murder, brother Masham,' said the Squire ; ' what shall be 
our next step ? ' 

' There is enough evidence to keep this fellow in custody,' 
said the Doctor. 'We must remand him, and make in- 
quiries at the market town. I shall proceed there imme- 
diately. He is a strange-looking fellow,' added the Doctor : 
' were it not for his carroty locks, I should scarcely take 
him for a native.' 

' Hem ! ' said the Squire, ' I have my suspicions. Fellow,' 
continued his worship, in an awful tone, ' you say that you 
are a stranger, and that your name is Morgan ; very sus- 
picious all this : you have no one to speak to your character 
or station, and you are found in possession of stolen goods. 
The bench will remand you for the present, and will at any 
rale commit you for trial for the robbery. But here is a 
Peer of the realm missing, fellow, and you are most griev- 
ously suspected of being concerned in his spiriting away, 
or even murder. You are upon tender ground, prisoner ; 
'tis a case verging on petty treason, if not petty treason 
itself. Eh ! Mr. Signsealer ? Thus runs the law, as I 
take it ? Prisoner, it would be well for you to consider 
your situation. Have you no compunctions ? Compunc- 
tions might save you, if not a principal offender. It is 
your duty to assist the bench in executing justice. The 
Crown is merciful ; you may be king's evidence.' 



VENETIA. 81 

Mr. Signsealer whispered the bench ; he proposed that 
the prisoner's hat should be examined, as the name of its 
maker might afford a clue to his residence. 

' Trne, true, Mr. Clerk,' said Squire Mountmeadow, ' I 
am coming to that. "Tis a sound practice ; I have known 
such a circumstance lead to great disclosures. But we 
must proceed in order. Order is everything. Constable, 
take the prisoner's hat off.' 

The constable took the hat off somewhat rudely; so 
rudely, indeed, that the carroty locks came off in company 
with it, and revealed a profusion of long plaited hair, which 
had been adroitly twisted under the wig, more in character 
with the countenance than its previous covering. 

' A Jesuit, after all ! ' exclaimed the Squire. 

'A gipsy, as it seems to me,' whispered the Doctor. 

' Still worse,' said the Squire. 

' Silence in the Court ! ' exclaimed the awful voice of 
Squire Mountmeadow, for the excitement of the audience 
was considerable. The disguise was generally esteemed as 
incontestable evidence of the murder. ' Silence, or I will 
order the Court to be cleared. Constable, proclaim silence. 
This is an awful business,' added the Squire, with a very 
long face. ' Brother Masham, we must do our duty ; but 
this is an awful business. At any rate we must try to dis- 
cover the body. A Peer of the realm must not be suffered 
to lie murdered in a ditch. He must have Christian burial, 
if possible, in the vaults of his ancestors.' 

When Morgana, for it was indeed he, observed the course 
affairs were taking, and ascertained that his detention 
under present circumstances was inevitable, he relaxed from 
his doggedness, and expressed a willingness to make a com- 
munication to the bench. Squire Mountmeadow lifted up 
his eyes to Heaven, as if entreating the interposition of 
Providence to guide him in his course ; then turned to his 
brother magistrate, and then nodded to the clerk. 

' He has compunctions, brother Masham,' said his wor- 
ship : ' I told you so ; he has compunctions. Trust me to 

a 



82 VENETIA. 

deal with these fellows. He knew not his perilous situa- 
tion ; the hint of petty treason staggered him. Mr. Clerk, 
take down the prisoner's confession ; the Court must be 
cleared; constable, clear the Court. Let a stout man stand 
on each side of the prisoner, to protect the bench. The 
magistracy of England will never shrink from doing their 
duty, but they must be protected. Now, prisoner, the 
bench is ready to hear your confession. Conceal nothing, 
and if you were not a principal in the murder, or an acces- 
sory before the fact ; eh, Mr. Clerk, thus runs the law, as I 
take it ? there may be mercy; at any rate, if you be hanged, 
you will have the satisfaction of having cheerfuEy made 
the only atonement to society in your power.' 

' Hanging be damned ! ' said Morgana. 

Squire Mountmeadow started from his seat, his cheeks 
distended with rage, his dull eyes for once flashing fire. 
' Did you ever witness such atrocity, brother Masham ? ' 
exclaimed his worship. ' Did you hear the villain ? I'll 
teach him to respect the bench. I'll fine him before he is 
executed, that I will ! ' 

' The young gentleman to whom this pony belongs,' con- 
tinued the gipsy, 'may or may not be a lord. I never 
asked him his name, and he never told it me; but he sought 
hospitality of me and my people, and we gave it him, and 
he lives with us, of his own free choice. The pony is of 
no use to him now, and so I came to sell it for our common 
good.' 

' A Peer of the realm turned gipsy ! ' exclaimed the Squire. 
* A very likely tale ! I'll teach you to come here and tell 
your cock-and-bull stories to two of his majesty's justices 
of the peace. 'Tis a flat case of robbery and murder, and 
I venture to say something else. You shall go to gaol 
directly, and the Lord have mercy on your soul ! ' 

'Nay,' said the gipsy, appealing to Dr. Marsham; 'you, 
sir, appear to be a friend of this youth. You will not re- 
gain him by sending me to gaol. Load me, if you will, 
with irons, surround me with armed men, but at least give 






VENETIA. 83 

me the opportunity of proving the truth of what I say. I 
offer in two hours to produce to you the youth, and you 
shall find he is living -with my people in content and 
peace.' 

' Content and fiddlestick ! ' said the Squire, in a rage. 

' Brother Mountmeadow,' said the Doctor, in. a low tone, 
to his colleague, ' I have private duties to perform to this 
family. Pardon me if, with all deference to your sounder 
judgment and greater experience, I myself accept the 
prisoner's offer.' 

' Brother Masham, you are one of his majesty's justices 
of the peace, you are a brother magistrate, and you are a 
Doctor of Divinity ; you owe a duty to your country, and 
you owe a duty to yourself. Is it wise, is it decorous, that 
one of the Quorum should go a-gipsying ? Is it pos- 
sible that you can credit this preposterous tale ? Brother 
Masham, there will be a rescue, or my name is not Mount- 
meadow.' 

In spite, however, of all these solemn warnings, the good 
Doctor, who was not altogether unaware of the character of 
his pupil, and could comprehend that it was very possible 
the statement of the gipsy might be genuine, continued 
without very much offending his colleague, who looked upon 
his conduct indeed rather with pity than resentment, to 
accept the offer of Morgana ; and consequently, well-secured 
and guarded, and preceding the Doctor, who rode behind 
the cart with his servant, the gipsy soon sallied forth from 
the inn-yard, and requested the driver to guide his course 
in the direction of the forest. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

IT was the afternoon of the third day after the arrival of 
Cadurcis at the gipsy encampment, and nothing had yet 
occurred to make him repent his flight from the abbey, and 
the choice of life he had made. He had experienced nothing 

o 2 



84 VENETIA. 

but kindness and hospitality, while the beautiful Beruna 
seemed quite content to pass her life in studying his amuse- 
ment. The weather, too, had been extremely favourable to 
his new mode of existence ; and stretched at his length upon 
the rich turf, with his head on Beruna's lap, and his eyes 
fixed upon the rich forest foliage glowing in the autumnal 
sunset, Plantagenet only wondered that he could have en- 
dured for so many years the shackles of his common- place 
home. 

His companions were awaiting the return of their leader, 
Morgana, who had been absent since the preceding day, 
and who had departed on Plantagenet's pony. Most of 
them were lounging or strolling in the vicinity of their 
tents ; the children were playing ; the old woman was cook- 
ing at the fire ; and altogether, save that the hour was not 
so late, the scene presented much the same aspect as when 
Cadurcis had first beheld it. As for his present occupation, 
Beruna was giving him a lesson in the gipsy language, 
which he was acquiring with a rapid facility, which quite 
exceeded all his previous efforts in such acquisitions. 

Suddenly a scout sang out that a party was in sight. The 
men instantly disappeared; the women were on the alert ; 
and one ran forward as a spy, on pretence of telling fortunes. 
This bright-eyed professor of palmistry soon, however, re- 
turned running, and out of breath, yet chatting all the time 
with inconceivable rapidity, and accompanying the startling 
communication she was evidently making with the most 
animated gestures. Beruna started up, and, leaving the 
astonished Cadurcis, joined them. She seemed alarmed. 
Cadurcis was soon convinced there was consternation in the 
camp. 

Suddenly a horseman galloped up, and was immediately 
followed by a companion. They called out, as if encourag- 
ing followers, and one of them immediately galloped away 
again, as if to detail the results of their reconnaissance. Be- 
fore Cadurcis could well rise and make inquiries as to what 
was going on, a light cart, containing several men, drove 



VENETIA. 85 

up, and in it, a prisoner, he detected Morgana. The branches 
of the trees concealed for a moment two other horsemen 
who followed the cart ; but Cadurcis, to his infinite alarm 
and mortification, soon recognised Dr. Masham and Peter. 

When the gipsies found their leader was captive, they no 
longer attempted to conceal themselves ; they all came for- 
ward, and would have clustered round the cart, had not the 
riders, as well as those who more immediately guarded the 
prisoner, prevented them. Morgana spoke some words in 
a loud voice to the gipsies, and they immediately appeared 
less agitated ; then turning to Dr. Masham, he said in Eng- 
lish, ' Behold your child ! ' 

Instantly two gipsy men seized Cadurcis, and led him to 
the Doctor. 

' How now, my lord ! ' said the worthy Rector, in a 
stern voice, ' is this your duty to your mother and your 
friends ?' 

Cadurcis looked down, but rather dogged than ashamed. 

' You have brought an innocent man into great peril,' 
continued the Doctor. ' This person, no longer a prisoner, 
has been arrested on suspicion of robbery, and even murder, 
through your freak. Morgana, or whatever your name may 
be, here is some reward for your treatment of this child, 
and some compensation for your detention. Mount your 
pony, Lord Cadurcis, and return to your home with me.' 

' This is my home, sir,' said Plantagenet. 

' Lord Cadurcis, this childish nonsense must cease ; it has 
already endangered the life of your mother, nor can I answer 
for her safety, if you lose a moment in returning.' 

1 Child, you must return,' said Morgana. 

' Child ! ' said Plantagenet, and he walked some steps 
away, and leant against a tree. ' You promised that I 
should remain,' said he f addressing himself reproachfully to 
Morgana. 

'You are not your own master,' said the gipsy; 'your 
remaining here will only endanger and disturb us. Fortu- 
nately we have nothing to fear from laws we have never 



86 VENETIA. 

outraged ; but had there been a judge less wise and gentle 
than the master here, our peaceful family might have been 
all harassed and hunted to the very death.' 

He waved his hand, and addressed some words to his 
tribe, whereupon two brawny fellows seized Cadurcis, and 
placed him again, in spite of his struggling, upon his pony, 
with the same irresistible facility with which they had a 
few nights before dismounted him. The little lord looked 
very sulky, but his position was beginning to get ludicrous. 
Morgana, pocketing his five guineas, leaped over the side of 
the cart, and offered to guide the Doctor and his attendants 
through the forest. They moved on accordingly. It was 
the work of an instant, and Cadurcis suddenly found him- 
self returning home between the Rector and Peter. Not a 
word, however, escaped his lips ; once only he moved ; the 
light branch of a tree, aimed with delicate precision, touched 
his back ; he looked round ; it was Beruna. She kissed her 
hand to him, and a tear stole down his pale, sullen cheek, 
as, taking from his breast his handkerchief, he threw it be- 
hind him, unperceived, that she might pick it up, and keep 
it for his sake. 

After proceeding two or three miles under the guidance 
of Morgana, the equestrians gained the road, though it still 
ran through the forest. Here the Doctor dismissed the 
gipsy- man, with whom he had occasionally conversed during 
their progress ; but not a sound ever escaped from the mouth 
of Cadurcis, or rather, the captive, who was now substituted 
in Morgana's stead. The Doctor, now addressing himself 
to Plantagenet, informed him that it was of importance that 
they should make the best of their way, and so he put spurs 
to his mare, and Cadurcis sullenly complied with the intima- 
tion. At this rate, in the course of little more than another 
"hour, they arrived in sight of the demesne of Cadurcis, where 
they pulled up their steeds. 

They entered the park, they approached the portal of the 
abbey ; at length they dismounted. Their coming was an- 
nounced by a servant, who had recognised his lord at a 



VENETIA. 87 

distance, and had ran on before with, the tidings. When 
they entered the abbey, they were met by Lady Annabel in 
the cloisters ; her countenance was very serious. She shook 
hands with Dr. Masham, but did not speak, and immediately 
led him aside. Cadurcis remained standing in the very spot 
where Doctor Masham left him, as if he were quite a stranger 
in the place, and was no longer master of his own conduct. 
Suddenly Doctor Masham, who was at the end of the cloister, 
while Lady Annabel was mounting the staircase, looked 
round with a pale face, and said in an agitated voice, ' Lord 
Cadurcis, Lady Annabel wishes to speak to you in the 
saloon.' 

Cadurcis immediately, but slowly, repaired to the saloon. 
Lady Annabel was walking up and down in it. She seemed 
greatly disturbed. When she saw him, she put her arm 
round his neck affectionately, and said in a low voice, ' My 
dearest Plantagenet, it has devolved upon me to communi- 
cate to you some distressing intelligence.' Her voice faltered, 
and the tears stole down her cheek. 

' My mother, then, is dangerously ill ?' he inquired in a 
calm but softened tone. 

' It is even sadder news than that, dear child.' 

Cadurcis looked about him wildly, and then with an in- 
quiring glance at Lady Annabel : 

' There can be but one thing worse than that,' he at length 
said. 

' What if it have happened ? ' said Lady Annabel. 

He threw himself into a chair, and covered his face with 
his hands. After a few minutes he looked up and said, in. 
a low but distinct voice, ' It is too terrible to think of ; it 
is too terrible to mention ; but, if it have happened, let me 
be alone.' 

Lady Annabel approached him with a light step ; she 
embraced him, and, whispering that she should be found in 
the next room, she quitted the apartment. 

Cadurcis remained seated for more than half an hour 
without changing in the slightest degree his position. The 



88 VENETIA. 

twilight died away ; it grew quite dark ; he looked up with 
a slight shiver, and then quitted the apartment. 

In the adjoining room, Lady Annabel was seated with 
Doctor Masham, and giving him the details of the fatal 
event. It had occurred that morning. Mrs. Cadurcis, who 
had never slept a wink since her knowledge of her son's 
undoubted departure, and scarcely for an hour been free 
from violent epileptic fits, had fallen early in the morning 
into a doze, which lasted about half an hour, and from which 
her medical attendant, who with Pauncefort had sat up with 
her during the night, augured the most favourable conse- 
quences. About half-past six o'clock she woke, and inquired 
whether Plantagenet had returned. They answered her 
that Doctor Masham. had not yet arrived, but would pro- 
bably be at the abbey in the course of the morning. She 
said it would be too late. They endeavoured to encourage 
her, but she asked to see Lady Annabel, who was imme- 
diately called, and lost no time in repairing to her. When 
Mrs. Cadurcis recognised her, she held out her hand, and 
said in a dying tone, ' It was my fault ; it was ever my 
fault ; it is too late now ; let him find a mother in you.* 
She never spoke again, and in the course of an hour expired. 

While Lady Annabel and the Doctor were dwelling on 
these sad circumstances, and debating whether he should 
venture to approach Plantagenet, and attempt to console 
him, for the evening was now far advanced, and nearly 
three hours had elapsed since the fatal communication had 
been made to him, it happened that Mistress Pauncefort 
chanced to pass Mrs. Cadurcis' room, and as she did so 
she heard some one violently sobbing. She listened, and 
hearing the sounds frequently repeated, she entered the 
room, which, but for her candle, would have been quite 
dark, and there she found Lord Cadurcis kneeling and 
weeping by his mother's bedside. He seemed annoyed at 
being seen and disturbed, but his spirit was too broken to 
murmur. ' La ! my lord,' said Mistress Pauncefort, ' you 
must not take on so ; you must not indeed. I am sure this 



VENETIA. 89 

dark room is enough to put any one in low spirits. Now 
do go downstairs, and sit with my lady and the Doctor, 
and try to be cheerful ; that is a dear good young gentle- 
man. I wish Miss Venetia were here, and then she would 
amuse you. But you must not take on, because there is no 
use in it. You must exert yourself, for what is done can- 
not be undone ; and, as the Doctor told us last Sunday, we 
must all die ; and well for those who die with a good con- 
science ; and I am sure the poor dear lady that is gone must 
have had a good conscience, because she had a good heart, 
and I never heard any one say the contrary. Now do exert 
yourself, my dear lord, and try to be cheerful, do ; for there 
is nothing like a little exertion in these cases, for God's 
will must be done, and it is not for us to say yea or nay, 
and taking on is a murmuring against God's providence/ 
And so Mistress Pauncefort would have continued urging 
the usual topics of coarse and common-place consolation ; 
but Cadurcis only answered with a sigh that came from the 
bottom of his heart, and said with streaming eyes, ' Ah ! 
Mrs. Pauncefort, God had only given me one friend in this 
world, and there she lies.' 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE first conviction that there is death in the house is 
perhaps the most awful moment of youth. When we are 
young, we think that not only ourselves, but that all about 
us, are immortal. Until the arrow has struck a victim 
round our own hearth, death is merely an unmeaning word ; 
until then, its casual mention has stamped no idea upon our 
brain. There are few, even among those least susceptible 
of thought and emotion, in whose hearts and minds the first 
death in the family does not act as a powerful revelation of 
the mysteries of life, and of their own being ; there are few 
who, after such a catastrophe, do not look upon the world 
and the world's ways, at least for a time, with changed and 



90 VENETIA. 

tempered feelings. It recalls the past ; it makes us ponder 
over the future ; and youth, gay and light-hearted youth, is 
taught, for the first time, to regret and to fear. 

On Cadurcis, a child of pensive temperament, and in 
whose strange and yet undeveloped character there was, 
amid lighter elements, a constitutional principle of melan- 
choly, the sudden decease of his mother produced a profound 
effect. All was forgotten of his parent, except the intimate 
and natural tie, and her warm and genuine affection. He 
was now alone in the world ; for reflection impressed upon 
him at this moment what the course of existence too gene- 
rally teaches to us all, that mournful truth, that, after all, 
we have no friends that we can depend upon in this life but 
our parents. All other intimacies, however ardent, are 
liable to cool ; all other confidence, however unlimited, to 
be violated. In the phantasmagoria of life, the friend with 
whom we have cultivated mutual trust for years is often 
suddenly or gradually estranged from us, or becomes, from 
painful, yet irresistible circumstances, even our deadliest 
foe. As for women, as for the mistresses of our hearts, who 
has not learnt that the links of passion are fragile as they 
are glittering ; and that the bosom on which we have re- 
posed with idolatry all our secret sorrows and sanguine 
hopes, eventually becomes the very heart that exults in our 
misery and baffles our welfare ? Where is the enamoured 
face that smiled upon our early love, and was to shed tears 
over our grave ? Where are the choice companions of our 
youth, with whom we were to breast the difficulties and 
share the triumphs of existence ? Even in this inconstant 
world, what changes like the heart ? Love is a dream, and 
friendship a delusion. No wonder we grow callous ; for 
how few have the opportunity of returning to the hearth 
which they quitted in levity or thoughtless weariness, yet 
which alone is faithful to them ; whose sweet affections re- 
quire not the stimulus of prosperity or fame, the lure of 
accomplishments, or the tribute of flattery ; but which are 
constant to us in distress, and console us even in disgrace ! 



VENETIA. 91 

Before she retired for the night, Lady Annabel was 
anxious to see Plantagenet. Mistress Pauncefort had in- 
formed her of his visit to his mother's room. Lady Anna- 
bel found Cadurcis in the gallery, now partially lighted by 
the moon which had recently risen. She entered with her 
light, as if she were on her way to her own room, and not 
seeking him. 

' Dear Plantagenet,' she said, ' will you not go to bed ? ' 

' I do not intend to go to bed to-night,' he replied. 

She approached him and took him by the hand, which 
he did not withdraw from her, and they walked together 
once or twice up and down the gallery. 

' I think, dear child,' said Lady Annabel, ' you had better 
come and sit with us.' 

' I like to be alone,' was his answer ; but not in a sullen 
voice, low and faltering. 

' But in sorrow we should be with our friends,' said Lady 
Annabel. 

' I have no friends,' he answered. ' I only had one.' 

' I am your friend, dear child ; I am your mother now, 
and you shall find me one if you like. And Yenetia, have 
you forgotten your sister ? Is she not your friend ? And 
Dr. Masham, surely you cannot doubt his friendship ? ' 

Cadurcis tried to stifle a sob. 'Ay, Lady Annabel,' he 
said, ' you are my friend now, and so are you all ; and you 
know I love you much. But you were not my friends two 
years ago ; and things will change again ; they will, indeed. 
A mother is your friend as long as she lives ; she cannot 
help being your friend.' 

' You shall come to Cherbury and live with us,' said Lady 
Annabel. ' You know you love Cherbury, and you shall 
find it a home, a real home.' 

He pressed her hand to his lips ; the hand was covered 
with his tears. 

' We will go to Cherbury to-morrow, dear Plantagenet ; 
remaining here will only make you sad.' 

' I will never leave Cadurcis again while my mother is in 



92 VENETIA. 

this house,' he said, in a firm and serious voice. And then, 
after a moment's pause, he added, ' I wish to know when 
the burial is to take place.' 

' We will ask Dr. Masham,' replied Lady Annabel. ' Come, 
let us go to him ; come, my own child.' 

He permitted himself to be led away. They descended 
to the small apartment where Lady Annabel had been pre- 
viously sitting. They found the Doctor there ; he rose and 
pressed Plantagenet's hand with great emotion. They made 
room for him at the fire between them ; he sat in silence, 
with his gaze intently fixed upon the decaying embers, yet 
did not quit bis hold of Lady Annabel's hand. He found 
it a consolation to him ; it linked him to a being who seemed 
to love him. As long as he held her hand he did not seem 
quite alone in the world. 

Now nobody spoke ; for Lady Annabel felt that Cadurcis 
was in some degree solaced ; and she thought it unwise to 
interrupt the more composed train of his thoughts. It was, 
indeed, Plantagenet himself who first broke silence. 

' I do not think I can go to bed, Lady Annabel,' he said. 
' The thought of this night is terrible to me. I do not 
think it ever can end. I would much sooner sit up in this 
room.' 

' Nay ! my child, sleep is a great consoler ; try to go to 
bed, love.' 

'I should like to sleep in my mother's room,' was his 
strange reply. ' It seems to me that I could sleep there. 
And if I woke in the night, I should like to see her.' 

Lady Annabel and the Doctor exchanged looks. 

'I think,' said the Doctor, 'you had better sleep in my 
room, and then, if you wake in the night, you will have 
some one to speak to. You will find that a comfort.' 

' Yes, that you will,' said Lady Annabel. ' I will go and 
have the sofa bed made up in the Doctor's room for you. 
Indeed that will be the very best plan.' 

So at last, but not without a struggle, they persuaded 
Cadurcis to retire. Lady Annabel embraced him tenderly 



VENETIA. 93 

when she bade him good night ; and, indeed, he felt con- 
soled by her affection. 

As nothing could persuade Plantagenet to leave the abbey 
until his mother was buried, Lady Annabel resolved to take 
up her abode there, and she sent the next morning for 
Venetia. There were a great many arrangements to make 
about the burial and the mourning ; and Lady Annabel and 
Dr. Masham were obliged, in consequence, to go the next 
morning to Southport ; but they delayed their departure 
until the arrival of Venetia, that Cadurcis might not be 
left alone. 

The meeting between himself and Venetia was a very 
sad one, and yet her companionship was a great solace. 
Venetia urged every topic that she fancied could reassure 
his spirits, and upon the happy home he would find at 
Cherbury. 

' Ah ! ' said Cadurcis, ' they will not leave me here ; 
I am sure of that. I think our happy days are over, 
Venetia.' 

What mourner has not felt the magic of time ? Before 
the funeral could take place, Cadurcis had recovered some- 
what of his usual cheerfulness, and would indulge with 
Venetia in plans of their future life. And living, as they 
all were, under the same roof, sharing the same sorrows, 
participating in the same cares, and all about to wear the 
same mournful emblems of their domestic calamity, it was 
difficult for him to believe that he was indeed that desolate 
being he had at first correctly estimated himself. Here 
were true friends, if such could exist ; here were fine sym- 
pathies, pure affections, innocent and disinterested hearts ! 
Every domestic tie yet remained perfect, except the spell- 
bound tie of blood. That wanting, all was a bright and 
happy vision, that might vanish in an instant, and for ever; 
that perfect, even the least graceful, the most repulsive 
home, had its irresistible charms ; and its loss, when once 
experienced, might be mourned for ever, and could never 
be restored. 



94 VEXETIA. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

AFTER the funeral of Mrs. Cadurcis, the family returned to 
Cherbury with Plantagenet, who was hereafter to consider 
it his home. All that the most tender solicitude could 
devise to reconcile him to the change in his life was fulfilled 
by Lady Annabel and her daughter, and, under their be- 
nignant influence, he soon regained his usual demeanour. 
His days were now spent as in the earlier period of their 
acquaintance, with the exception of those painful returns to 
home, which had once been a source to him of so much 
gloom and unhappiness. He pursued his studies as of old, 
and shared the amusements of Venetia. His allotted room 
was ornamented by her drawings, and in the evenings they 
read aloud by turns to Lady Annabel the volume which she 
selected. The abbey he never visited again after his mother's 
funeral. 

Some weeks had passed in this quiet and contented man- 
ner, when one day Doctor Masham, who, since the death of 
his mother, had been in correspondence with his guardian, 
received a letter from that nobleman, to announce that he 
had made arrangements for sending his ward to Eton, and 
to request that he would accordingly instantly proceed to 
the metropolis. This announcement occasioned both Ca- 
durcis and Venetia poignant affliction. The idea of separa- 
tion was to both of them most painful ; and although Lady 
Annabel herself was in some degree prepared for an arrange- 
ment, which sooner or later she considered inevitable, she 
was herself scarcely less distressed. The good Doctor, in 
some degree to break the bitterness of parting, proposed ac- 
companying Plantagenet to London, and himself personally 
delivering the charge, in whose welfare they were so much 
interested, to his guardian. Nevertheless, it was a very 
sad affair, and the week which was to intervene before his 
departure found both himself and Venetia often in tears. 
They no longer took any delight in their mutual studies 



VENETIA. 95 

but passed the day walking about and visiting old haunts, 
and endeavouring to console each other for what they both 
deemed a great calamity, and which was, indeed, the only 
serious misfortune Venetia had herself experienced in the 
whole course of her serene career. 

' But if I were really your brother,' said Plantagenet, 
'I must have quitted you the same, Venetia. Boys al- 
ways go to school ; and then we shall be so happy when I 
return.' 

' Oh ! but we are so happy now, Plantagenet. I cannot 
believe that we are going to part. And are you sure that 
you will return ? Perhaps your guardian will not let you, 
and will wish you to spend your holidays at his house. His 
house will be your home now.' 

It was impossible for a moment to forget the sorrow that 
was impending over them. There were so many prepara- 
tions to be made for his departure, that every instant some- 
thing occurred to remind them of their sorrow. Venetia 
sat with tears in her eyes marking his new pocket-handker- 
chiefs which they had all gone to Southport to purchase, 
for Plantagenet asked, as a particular favour, that no one 
should mark them but Venetia. Then Lady Annabel gave 
Plantagenet a writing-case, and Venetia filled it with pens 
and paper, that he might never want means to communicate 
with them ; and her evenings were passed in working him 
a purse, which Lady Annabel took care should be well 
stocked. All day long there seemed something going on 
to remind them of what was about to happen ; and as for 
Pauncefort, she flounced in and out the room fifty times 
a- day, with ' What is to be done about my lord's shirts, my 
lady ? I think his lordship had better have another dozen, 
your la'ship. Better too much than too little, I always 
say;' or, '0! my lady, your la'ship cannot form an idea 
of what a state my lord's stockings are in, my lady. I 
think I had better go over to Southport with John, my 
lady, and buy him some ; ' or, ' Please, my lady, did I 
understand your la'ship spoke to the tailor on Thursday 



96 VENETIA. 

about my lord's things ? I suppose your la' ship knows my 
lord has got no great-coat ? ' 

Every one of these inquiries made Venetia's heart tremble. 
Then there was the sad habit of dating every coming day 
by its distance from the fatal one. There was the last day 
but four, and the last day but three, and the last day but 
two. The last day but one at length arrived ; and at length, 
too, though it seemed incredible, the last day itself. 

Plantagenet and Venetia both rose very early, that they 
might make it as long as possible. They sighed involun- 
tarily when they met, and then they went about to pay last 
visits to every creature and object of which they had been 
so long fond. Plantagenet went to bid farewell to the 
horses and adieu to the cows, and then walked down to 
the woodman's cottage, and then to shake hands with the 
keeper. He would not say ' Good-bye' to the household 
until the very last moment ; and as for Marmion, the blood- 
hound, he accompanied both of them so faithfully in this 
melancholy ramble, and kept so close to both, that it was 
useless to break the sad intelligence to him yet. 

' I think now, Venetia, we have been to see everything,' 
said Plantagenet, ' I shall see the peacocks at breakfast 
time. I wish Eton was near Cherbury, and then I could 
come home on Sunday. I cannot bear going to Cadurcis 
again, but I should like you to go once a week, and try to 
keep up our garden, and look after everything, though there 
is not much that will not take care of itself, except the 
garden. We made that together, and I could not bear its 
being neglected.' 

Venetia could not assure him that no wish of his should 
be neglected, because she was weeping. 

1 1 am glad the Doctor,' he continued, ' is g6ing to take 
me to town. I should be very wretched by myself. But 
he will put me in mind of Cherbury, and we can talk to- 
gether of Lady Annabel and you. Hark ! the bell rings ; 
we must go to breakfast, the last breakfast but one.' 

Lady Annabel endeavoured, by unusual good spirits, to 



VENETIA. 97 

cheer up her little friends. She spoke of Plantagenet's 
speedy return so much as a matter of course, and the plea- 
sant things they were to do when he came back, that she 
really succeeded in exciting a smile in Venetia's April face, 
for she was smiling amid tears. 

Although it was the last day, time hung heavily on their 
hands. After breakfast they went over the house together; 
and Cadurcis, half with genuine feeling, and half in a spirit 
of mockery of their sorrow, made a speech to the inanimate 
walls, as if they were aware of his intended departure. At 
length, in their progress, they passed the door of the closed 
apartments, and here, holding Yenetia's hand, he stopped, 
and, with an expression of irresistible humour, making a 
low bow to them, he said, very gravely, ' And good-bye 
rooms that I have never entered ; perhaps, before I come 
back, Venetia will find out what is locked up in you ! ' 

Dr. Masham arrived for dinner, and in a postchaise. 
The unusual conveyance reminded them of the morrow very 
keenly. Venetia could not bear to see the Doctor's port- 
manteau taken out and carried into the hall. She had 
hopes, until then, that something would happen and pre- 
vent all this misery. Cadurcis whispered her, ' I say, 
Venetia, do not you wish this was winter ? ' 

' Why, Plantagenet ? ' 

' Because then we might have a good snowstorm, and be 
blocked up again for a week.' 

Venetia looked at the sky, but not a cloud was to be seen. 

The Doctor was glad to warm himself at the hall-fire, for 
it was a fresh autumnal afternoon. 

' Are you cold, sir ? ' said Venetia, approaching him. 

* I am, my little maiden,' said the Doctor. 

' Do you think there is any chance of its snowing, Doctor 
Masham ? ' 

' Snowing ! my little maiden ; what can you be thinking 
of?' 

The dinner was rather gayer than might have been ex- 
pected. The Doctor was jocular, Lady Annabel lively, and 

H 



98 VENETIA. 

Plantagenet excited by an extraordinary glass of wine. 
Venetia alone remained dispirited. The Doctor made 
mock speeches and proposed toasts, and told Plantagenet 
that he must learn to make speeches too, or what would he 
do when he was in the House of Lords ? And then Plan- 
tagenet tried to make a speech, and proposed Yenetia's 
health ; and then Venetia, who could not bear to hear her- 
self praised by him on such a day, the last day, burst into 
tears. Her mother called her to her side and consoled her, 
and Plantagenet jumped up and wiped her eyes with one 
of those very pocket-handkerchiefs on which she had em- 
broidered his cipher and coronet with her own beautiful hair. 

Towards evening Plantagenet began to experience the 
re-action of his artificial spirits. The Doctor had fallen 
into a gentle slumber, Lady Annabel had quitted the room, 
Venetia sat with her hand in Plantagenet's on a stool by 
the fireside. Both were sad and silent. At last Venetia 
said, ' Plantagenet, I wish I were your real sister ! Per- 
haps, when I see you again, you will forget this,' and she 
turned the jewel that was suspended round her neck, and 
showed him the inscription. 

' I am sure when I see you again, Venetia,' he replied, 
' the only difference will be, that I shall love you more than 
ever.' 

' I hope so,' said Venetia. 

' I am sure of it. Now remember what we are talking 
about. "When we meet again, we shall see which of us two 
will love each other the most.' 

' Plantagenet, I hope they will be kind to you at Eton.' 

* I will make them.' 

* And, whenever you are the least unhappy, you will 
write to us ? ' 

' I shall never be unhappy about anything but being away 
from you. As for the rest, I will make people respect me ; 
I know what I am.' 

'Because if they do not behave well to you, mamma 
could ask Dr. Masham to go and see you, and they will 



VENETIA. 99 

attend to him ; and I would ask him too. I wonder,' she 
continued after a moment's pause, ' if you have everything 
you want. I am quite sure the instant you are gone, we 
shall remember something you ought to have ; and then I 
shall be quite brokenhearted.' 

' I have got everything.' 

'You said you wanted a large knife.' 

'Yes! but I am going to buy one in London. Dr. 
Masham says he will take me to a place where the finest 
knives in the world are to be bought. It is a great thing 
to go to London with Dr. Masham.' 

' I have never written your name in your Bible and 
Prayer-book. I will do it this evening.' 

' Lady Annabel is to write it in the Bible, and you are 
to write it in the Prayer-book.' 

' You are to write to us from London by Dr. Masham, if 
only a line.' 

I shall not fail.' 

' Never mind about your handwriting ; but mind you 
write.' 

At this moment Lady Annabel's step was heard, and 
Plantagenet said, ' Give me a kiss, Venetia, for I do not 
mean to bid good-bye to-night.' 

' But you will not go to-morrow before we are up ? ' 

' Yes, we shall.' 

' Now, Plantagenet, I shall be up to bid you good-bye, 
mind that.' 

Lady Annabel entered, the Doctor woke, lights followed, 
the servant made up th'e fire, and the room looked cheerful 
again. After tea, the names were duly written in the Bible 
and Prayer-book ; the*last arrangements were made, all the 
baggage was brought down into the hall, all ransacked their 
memory and fancy, to see if it were possible that anything 
that Plantagenet could require was either forgotten or had 
been omitted. The clock struck ten ; Lady Annabel rose. 
The travellers were to part at an early hour : she shook 

H 2 



100 VENETIA. 

hands with Dr. Masham, but Cadurcis was to bid her fare- 
well in her dressing-room, and then, with heavy hearts and 
glistening eyes, they all separated. And thus ended the 
last day ! . 



CHAPTER XX. 

VENETIA passed a restless night. She was so resolved to be 
awake in time for Plantagenet's departure, that she could 
not sleep ; and at length, towards morning, fell, from ex- 
haustion, into a light slumber, from which she sprang up 
convulsively, roused by the sound of the wheels of the post- 
chaise. She looked out of her window, and saw the servant 
strapping on the portmanteaus. Shortly after this she 
heard Plantagenet's step in the vestibule ; he passed her 
room, and proceeded to her mother's dressing-room, at the 
door of which she heard him knock, and then there was 
silence. 

' Tou are in good time,' said Lady Annabel, who was 
seated in an easy chair when Plantagenet entered her room. 
Is the Doctor up?' 

' He is breakfasting.' 

' And have you breakfasted ? ' 

' I have no appetite.' 

'You should take something, my child, before you go. 
Now, come hither, my dear Plantagenet,' she said, extend- 
ing her hand ; ' listen to me, one word. When you arrive 
in London, you will go to your guardian's. He is a great 
man, and I believe a very good one, and the law and your 
father's will have placed him in the position of a parent to 
you. You must therefore love, honour, and obey him ; and' 
I doubt not he will deserve all your affection, respect, and 
duty. Whatever he desires or counsels you will perform 
and follow. So long as you act according to his wishes, 
you cannot be wrong. But, my dear Plantagenet, if by 
any chance it ever happens, for strange things sometimes 



VENETIA. 101 

happen in this world, that you are in trouble and require a 
friend, remember that Cherbury is also your home ; the 
home of your heart, if not of the law ; and that not merely 
from my own love for you, but because I promised your 
poor mother on her death-bed, I esteem myself morally, 
although not legally, in the light of a parent to you. You 
will find Eton a great change ; you will experience many 
trials and temptations ; but you will triumph over and 
withstand them -all, if you will attend to these few direc- 
tions. Fear God ; morning and night let nothing induce 
you ever to omit your prayers to Him ; you will find 
that praying will make you happy. Obey your superiors ; 
always treat your masters with respect. Ever speak the 
truth. So long as you adhere to this rule, you never can 
be involved in any serious misfortune. A deviation from 
truth is, in general, the foundation of all misery. Be kind 
to your companions, but be firm. Do not be laughed into 
doing that which you know to be wrong. Be modest and 
humble, but ever respect yourself. Remember who you 
are, and also that it is your duty to excel. Providence has 
given you a great lot. Think ever that you are born to 
perform great duties. 

' God bless you, Plantagenet ! ' she continued, after a slight 
pause, with a faltering voice, ' God bless you, my sweet 
child. And God will bless you if you remember Him. Try 
also to remember us,' she added, as she embraced him, and 
placed in his hand Venetia's well-lined purse. ' Do not for- 
get Cherbury and all it contains ; hearts that love you dearly, 
and will pray ever for your welfare.' 

Plantagenet leant upon her bosom. He had entered the 
room resolved to be composed, with an air even of cheer- 
fulness, but his tender heart yielded to the first appeal to 
his affections. He could only murmur out some broken 
syllables of devotion, and almost unconsciously found that 
he had quitted the chamber. 

With streaming eyes and hesitating steps he was proceed- 
ing along the vestibule, when he heard his name called by 



102 VENETIA. 

a low sweet voice. He looked around; it was Venetia. 
Never had he beheld such a beautiful vision. She was 
muffled up in her dressing-gown, her small white feet only 
guarded from the cold by her slippers. Her golden hair 
seemed to reach her waist, her cheek was flushed, her large 
blue eyes glittered with tears. 

'Plantagenet,' she said 

Neither of them could speak. They embraced, they 
mingled their tears together, and every instant they wept 
more plenteously. At length a footstep was heard ; Venetia 
murmured a blessing, and vanished. 

Cadurcis lingered on the stairs a moment to compose him- 
self. He wiped his eyes ; he tried to look undisturbed. All 
the servants were in the hall ; from Mistress Pauncefort to 
the scullion there was not a dry eye. All loved the little 
lord, he was so gracious and so gentle. Every one asked leave 
to touch his hand before he went. He tried to smile and 
say something kind to all. He recognised the gamekeeper, 
and told him to do what he liked at Cadurcis ; said some- 
thing to the coachman about his pony ; and begged Mistress 
Pauncefort, quite aloud, to take great care of her young 
mistress. As he was speaking, he felt something rubbing 
against his hand : it was Marmion, the old bloodhound. He 
also came to bid his adieus. Cadurcis patted him with affec- 
tion, and said, 'Ah ! my old fellow, we shall yet meet again.' 

The Doctor appeared, smiling as usual, made his inquiries 
whether all were right, nodded to the weeping household, 
called Plantagenet his brave boy, and patted him on the 
back, and bade him jump into the chaise. Another moment, 
and Dr. Masham had also entered ; the door was closed, the 
fatal ' All right ' sung out, and Lord Cadurcis was whirled 
away from that Cherbury where he was so loved. 



END OP BOOK I. 



VENETIA. 103 



BOOK n. 



CHAPTER I. 

LIFE is not dated merely by years. Events are sometimes 
the best calendars. There are epochs in our existence which 
cannot be ascertained by a formal appeal to the registry. 
The arrival of the Cadurcis family at their old abbey, their 
consequent intimacy at Cherbury, the death of the mother, 
and the departure of the son : these were events which had 
been crowded into a space of less than two years ; but those 
two years were not only the most eventful in the life of 
Venetia Herbert, but in their influence upon the develop- 
ment of her mind, and the formation of her character, far 
exceeded the effects of all her previous existence. 

Venetia once more found herself with no companion but her 
mother, but in vain she attempted to recall the feelings she 
had before experienced under such circumstances, and to 
revert to the resources she had before commanded. No 
longer could she wander in imaginary kingdoms, or trans- 
form the limited world of her experience into a boundless 
region of enchanted amusement. Her play-pleasure hours 
were fled for ever. She sighed for her faithful and sym- 
pathising companion. The empire of fancy yielded without 
a struggle to the conquering sway of memory. 

For the first few weeks Yenetia was restless and dispirited, 
and when she was alone she often wept. A mysterious 
instinct prompted her, however, not to exhibit such emotion 
before her mother. Yet she loved to hear Lady Annabel 
talk of Plantagenet, and a visit to the abbey was ever her 
favourite walk. Sometimes, too, a letter arrived from Lord 
Cadnrcis, and this was great joy ; but such communications 



104 VENETIA. 

were rare. Nothing is more difficult than for a junior boy 
at a public school to maintain a correspondence ; yet his 
letters were most affectionate, and always dwelt upon the 
prospect of his return. The period for this hoped-for return 
at length arrived, but.it brought no Plantagenet. His guar- 
dian wished that the holidays should be spent under his roof. 
Still at intervals Cadnrcis wrote to Cherbury, to which, as 
time flew on, it seemed destined he never was to return. 
Vacation followed vacation, alike passed with his guardian, 
either in London, or at a country seat still more remote from 
Cherbury, until at length it became so much a matter of 
course that his guardian's house should be esteemed his 
home, that Plantagenet ceased to allude even to the pro- 
spect of return. In time his letters became rarer and rarer, 
until, at length, they altogether ceased. Meanwhile Venetia 
had overcome the original pang of separation ; if not as gay 
as in old days, she was serene and very studious ; delighting 
less in her flowers and birds, but much more in her books, 
and pursuing her studies with an earnestness and assiduity 
which her mother was rather fain to check than to encourage, 
Venetia Herbert, indeed, promised to become a most accom- 
plished woman. She had a fine ear for music, a ready tongue 
for languages ; already she emulated her mother's skill in 
the arts ; while the library of Cherbury afforded welcome 
and inexhaustible resources to a girl whose genius deserved 
the richest and most sedulous cultivation, and whose peculiar 
situation, independent of her studious predisposition, ren- 
dered reading a pastime to her rather than a task. Lady 
Annabel watched the progress of her daughter with lively 
interest, and spared no efforts to assist the formation of her 
principles and her taste. That deep religious feeling which 
was the characteristic of the mother had been carefully and 
early cherished in the heart of the child, and in time the un- 
rivalled writings of the great divines of our Church became 
a principal portion of her reading. Order, method, severe 
study, strict religious exercise, with no amusement or re- 
laxation but of the most simple and natural character, and 



VENETIA. 105 

with a complete seclusion from society, altogether formed a 
system, which, acting upon a singularly susceptible and gifted 
nature, secured the promise in Venetia Herbert, at fourteen 
years of age, of an extraordinary woman ; a system, how- 
ever, against which her lively and somewhat restless mind 
might probably have rebelled, had not that system been so 
thoroughly imbued with all the melting spell of maternal 
affection. It was the inspiration of this sacred love that 
hovered like a guardian angel over the life of Venetia. It 
roused her from her morning slumbers with an embrace, it 
sanctified her evening pillow with a blessing ; it anticipated 
the difficulty of the student's page, and guided the faltering 
hand of the hesitating artist ; it refreshed her memory, ifc 
modulated her voice ; it accompanied her in the cottage, and 
knelt by her at the altar. Marvellous and beautiful is a 
mother's love. And when Venetia, with her strong feelings 
and enthusiastic spirit, would look around and mark that a 
graceful form and a bright eye were for ever watching over 
her wants and wishes, instructing with sweetness, and soft 
even with advice, her whole soul rose to her mother, all 
thoughts and feelings were concentrated in that sole exist- 
ence, and she desired no happier destiny than to pass through 
life living in the light of her mother's smiles, and clinging 
with passionate trust to that beneficent and guardian form. 
But with all her quick and profound feelings Venetia was 
thoughtful and even shrewd, and when she was alone her 
very love for her mother, and her gratitude for such an inef- 
fable treasure as parental affection, would force her mind to 
a subject which at intervals had haunted her even from her 
earliest childhood. Why had she only one parent ? What 
mystery was this that enveloped that great tie ? For that 
there was a mystery Venetia felt as assured as that she was 
a daughter. By a process which she could not analyse, her 
father had become a forbidden subject. True, Lady Annabel 
had placed no formal prohibition upon its mention ; nor at 
her present age was Venetia one who would be influenced 
in her conduct by the bygone and arbitrary intimations of 



106 VENETIA. 

a menial ; nevertheless, that the mention of her father would 
afford pain to the being she loved best in the -world, was 
a conviction which had grown with her years and strength- 
ened with her strength. Pardonable, natural, even laudable 
as was the anxiety of the daughter upon such a subject, an 
instinct with which she could not struggle closed the lips of 
Venetia for ever upon this topic. His name was never men- 
tioned, his past existence was never alluded to. Who was 
he ? That he was of noble family and great position her 
name betokened, and the state in which they lived. He 
must have died very early ; perhaps even before her mother 
gave her birth. A dreadful lot indeed ; and yet was the 
grief that even such a dispensation might occasion, so keen, 
so overwhelming, that after fourteen long years his name 
might not be permitted, even for an instant, to pass the lips 
of his bereaved wife ? Was his child to be deprived of the 
only solace for his loss, the consolation of cherishing his 
memory ? Strange, passing strange indeed, and bitter ! At 
Cherbury the family of Herbert were honoured only from 
tradition. Until the arrival of Lady Annabel, as we have 
before mentioned, they had not resided at the hall for more 
than half a century. There were no old retainers there from 
whom Venetia might glean, without suspicion, the informa- 
tion for which she panted. Slight, too, as was Venetia's 
experience of society, there were times when she could not 
resist the impression that her mother was not happy ; that 
there was some secret sorrow that weighed upon her spirit, 
some grief that gnawed at her heart. Could it be still the 
recollection of her lost sire ? Could one so religious, so 
resigned, so assured of meeting the lost one in a better world, 
brood with a repining soul over the will of her Creator ? Such 
conduct was entirely at variance with all the tenets of Lady 
Annabel. It was not thus she consoled the bereaved, that 
she comforted the widow, and solaced the orpban. Venetia, 
too, observed everything and forgot nothing. Not an incident 
of her earliest childhood that was not as fresh in her memory 
as if it had occurred yesterday. Her memory was naturally 



VENETIA 107 

keen ; living in solitude, with nothing to distract it, its impres- 
sions never faded away. She had never forgotten her mother's 
tears the day that she and Plantagenet had visited Marring- 
hurst. Somehow or other Dr. Masham seemed connected 
with this sorrow. Whenever Lady Annabel was most 
dispirited it was after an interview with that gentleman ; 
yet the presence of the Doctor always gave her pleasure, 
and he was the most kind-hearted and cheerful of men. 
Perhaps, after all, it was only her illusion ; perhaps, after 
all, it was the memory of her father to which her mother 
was devoted, and which occasionally overcame her ; perhaps 
she ventured to speak of him to Dr. Masham, though not to 
her daughter, and this might account for that occasional 
agitation which Venetia had observed at his visits. And 
yet, and yet, and yet ; in vain she reasoned. There is a 
strange sympathy which whispers convictions that no evi- 
dence can authorise, and no arguments dispel. Venetia 
Herbert, particularly as she grew older, could not refrain 
at times from yielding to the irresistible belief that her 
existence was enveloped in some mystery. Mystery too 
often presupposes the idea of guilt. Guilt ! Who was guilty ? 
Venetia shuddered at the current of her own thoughts. She 
started from the garden seat in which she had fallen into this 
dangerous and painful reverie ; flew to her mother, who 
received her with smiles ; and buried her face in the bosom 
of Lady Annabel. 



CHAPTER II. 

WE have indicated in a few pages the progress of three 
years. How differently passed to the two preceding ones, 
when the Cadurcis family were settled at the abbey ! For 
during this latter period it seemed that not a single inci- 
dent had occurred. They had glided away in one unbroken 
course of study, religion, and domestic love, the enjoyment 
of nature, and the pursuits of charity ; like a long summer 



108 VENETIA. 

sabbath-day, sweet and serene and still, undisturbed by a 
single passion, hallowed and hallowing. 

If the Cadurcis family were now not absolutely forgotten 
at Cherbury, they were at least only occasionally remem- 
bered. These last three years so completely harmonised 
with the life of Venetia before their arrival, that, taking a 
general view of her existence, their residence at the abbey 
figured only as an episode in her career ; active indeed and 
stirring, and one that had left some impressions not easily 
discarded ; but, on the whole, mellowed by the magic of 
time, Yenetia looked back to her youthful friendship as an 
event that was only an exception in her lot, and she viewed 
herself as a being born and bred up in a seclusion which 
she was never to quit, with no aspirations beyond the little 
world in which she moved, and where she was to die in 
peace, as she had lived in purity. 

One Sunday, the conversation after dinner fell upon Lord 
Cadurcis. Doctor Masham had recently met a young 
Etonian, and had made some inquiries about their friend of 
old days. The information he had obtained was not very satis- 
factory. It seemed that Cadurcis was a more popular boy 
with his companions than his tutors ; he had been rather 
unruly, and had only escaped expulsion by the influence of 
his guardian, who was not only a great noble, but a powerful 
minister. 

This conversation recalled old times. They talked over 
the arrival of Mrs. Cadurcis at the abbey, her strange 
character, her untimely end. Lady Annabel expressed her 
conviction of the natural excellence of Plantagenet's dis- 
position, and her regret of the many disadvantages under 
which he laboured ; it gratified Venetia to listen to his 
praise. 

' He has quite forgotten us, mamma,' said Venetia. 

' My love, he was very young when he quitted us,' replied 
Lady Annabel ; ' and you must remember the influence of a 
change of life at so tender an age. He lives now in a busy 
world.' 



VENETIA. 109 

' I wish that he had not forgotten to write to us some- 
times,' said Venetia. 

' Writing a letter is a great achievement for a schoolboy,' 
said the Doctor ; ' it is a duty which even grown-up persons 
too often forget to fulfil, and, when postponed, it is generally 
deferred for ever. However, I agree with Lady Annabel, 
Cadurcis was a fine fellow, and had he been properly 
brought up, I cannot help thinking, might have turned out 
something.' 

' Poor Plantagenet ! ' said Venetia, ' how I pity him. His 
was a terrible lot, to lose both his parents! Whatever 
were the errors of Mrs. Cadurcis, she was his mother, and, 
in spite of every mortification, he clung to her. Ah! I 
shall never forget when Pauncefort met him coming out of 
her room the night before the burial, when he said, with 
streaming eyes, " I only had one friend in the world, and 
now she is gone." I could not love Mrs. Cadurcis, and 
yet, when I heard of these words, I cried as much as he.' 

' Poor fellow ! ' said the Doctor, filling his glass. 

'If there be any person in the world whom I pity,' said 
Venetia, ' 'tis an orphan. Oh ! what should I be without 
mamma? And Plantagenet, poor Plantagenet! he has no 
mother, no father.' Venetia added, with a faltering voice : 
' I can sympathise with him in some degree ; I, I, I know, I 
feel the misfortune, the misery ; ' her face became crimson, 
yet she could not restrain the irresistible words, 'the 
misery of never having known a father,' she added. 

There was a dead pause, a most solemn silence. In vain 
Venetia straggled to look calm and unconcerned; every 
iustant she felt the blood mantling in her cheek with a 
more lively and spreading agitation. She dared not look 
up ; it was not possible to utter a word to turn the conver- 
sation. She felt utterly confounded and absolutely mute. 
At length, Lady Annabel spoke. Her tone was severe and 
choking, very different to her usual silvery voice. 

' I am sorry that my daughter should feel so keenly the 
want of a parent's love,' said her ladyship. 



110 VEXETIA. 

What would not Venetia have given for the power of 
speech ! but it seemed to have deserted her for ever. There 
she sat mute and motionless, with her eyes fixed on the 
table, and with a burning cheek, as if she were conscious 
of having committed some act of shame, as if she had been 
detected in some base and degrading deed. Yet, what had 
she done? A daughter had delicately alluded to her grief 
at the loss of a parent, and expressed her keen sense of the 
deprivation. 

It .was an autumnal afternoon : Doctor Masham looked at 
the sky, and, after a long pause, made an observation about 
the weather, and then requested permission to order his 
horses, as the evening came on apace, and he had some 
distance to ride. Lady Annabel rose ; the Doctor, with a 
countenance unusually serious, offered her his arm ; and 
Venetia followed them like a criminal. In a few minutes 
the horses appeared ; Lady Annabel bid adieu to her friend 
in her usual kind tone, and with her usual sweet smile ; and 
then, without noticing Venetia, instantly retired to her own 
chamber. 

And this was her mother ; her mother who never before 
quitted her for an instant without some sign and symbol of 
affection, some playful word of love, a winning smile, a 
passing embrace, that seemed to acknowledge that the 
pang of even momentary separation could only be alle- 
viated by this graceful homage to the heart. What had 
she done ? Venetia was about to follow Lady Annabel, but 
she checked herself. Agony at having offended her mother, 
and, for the first time, was blended with a strange curiosity 
as to the cause, and some hesitating indignation at her 
treatment. Venetia remained anxiously awaiting the re- 
turn of Lady Annabel ; but her ladyship did not reappear. 
Every instant, the astonishment and the grief of Venetia 
increased. It was the first domestic difference that had 
occurred between them. It shocked her much. She 
thought of Plantagenet and Mrs. Cadurcis. There was a 
mortifying resemblance, however slight, between the re- 



VENETIA. HI 

spective situations of the two families. Venetia, too, had 
quarrelled with her mother ; that mother who, for fourteen 
years, had only looked upon her with fondness and joy; 
who had been ever kind, without being ever weak, and had 
rendered her child happy by making her good ; that mother 
AT^nse beneficent wisdom had transformed duty into de- 
light ; that superior, yet gentle being, so indulgent yet 
so just, so gifted yet so condescending, who dedicated all 
her knowledge, and time, and care, and intellect to her 
daughter. 

Venetia threw herself upon a couch and wept. They 
were the first tears of unmixed pain that she had ever shed. 
It was said by the household of Venetia when a child, that 
she had never cried ; not a single tear had ever sullied that 
sunny face. Surrounded by scenes of innocence, and images 
of happiness and content, Venetia smiled on a world that 
smiled on her, the radiant heroine of a golden age. She 
had, indeed, wept over the sorrows and the departure of 
Cadurcis ; but those were soft showers of sympathy and 
affection sent from a warm heart, like drops from a summer 
sky. But now this grief was agony : her brow throbbed, 
her hand was clenched, her heart beat with tumultuous 
palpitation ; the streaming torrent came scalding down her 
cheek like fire rather than tears, and instead of assuaging 
her emotion, seemed, on the contrary, to increase its fierce 
and fervid power. 

The sun had set, the red autumnal twilight had died 
away, the shadows of night were brooding over the halls 
of Cherbury. The moan of the rising wind might be dis- 
tinctly heard, and ever and anon the branches of neigh- 
bouring trees swung with a sudden yet melancholy sound 
against the windows of the apartment, of which the cur- 
tains had remained undrawn. Venetia looked up ; the room 
would hare been in perfect darkness but for a glimmer 
which just indicated the site of the expiring fire, and an 
uncertain light, or rather modified darkness, that seemed 
the sky. Alone and desolate! Alone and desolate and 



112 VENETIA. 

unhappy! Alone and desolate and unhappy, and for the 
first time ! Was it a sigh, or a groan, that issued from the 
stifling heart of Venetia Herbert ? That child of innocence, 
that bright emanation of love and beauty, that airy creature 
of grace and gentleness, who had never said an unkind word 
or done an unkind thing in her whole career, but had 
glanced and glided through existence, scattering happiness 
and joy, and receiving the pleasure which she herself im- 
parted, how overwhelming was her first struggle with that 
dark stranger, Sorrow! 

Some one entered the room ; it was Mistress Pauncefort. 
She held a taper in her hand, and came tripping gingerly in, 
with a new cap streaming with ribands, and scarcely, as it 
were, condescending to execute the mission with which she 
was intrusted, which was no greater than fetching her lady's 
reticule. She glanced at the table, but it was not there ; 
she turned up her nose at a chair or two, which she even 
condescended to propel a little with a saucy foot, as if the 
reticule might be hid under the hanging drapery, and then, 
unable to find the object of her search, Mistress Pauncefort 
settled herself before the glass, elevating the taper above 
her head, that she might observe what indeed she had been 
examining the whole day, the effect of her new cap. With 
a complacent simper, Mistress Pauncefort then turned from 
pleasure to business, and, approaching the couch, gave a 
faint shriek, half genuine, half affected, as she recognised 
the recumbent form of her young mistress. 'Well to be 
sure,' exclaimed Mistress Pauncefort, 'was the like ever 
seen ! Miss Venetia, as I live ! La ! Miss Venetia, what 
can be the matter? I declare I am all of a palpitation.' 

Venetia, affecting composure, said she was rather unwell ; 
that she had a headache, and, rising, murmured that she 
would go to bed. 'A headache ! ' exclaimed Mistress Paunce- 
fort, ' I hope no worse, for there is my lady, and she is as 
out of sorts as possible. She has a headache too ; and when 
I shut the door just now, I am sure as quiet as a lamb, she 
told me not to make so much noise when I left the room. 



VENETIA. 113 

" Noise ! " says I ; " why really, my lady, I don't pretend to 

be a spirit ; but if it comes to noise " " Never answer 

me, Pauncefort," says my lady. " No, my lady," says I, "I 
never do, and, I am sure, when I have a headache myself, 
I don't like to be answered." But, to be sure, if you have 
a headache, and my lady has a headache too, I only hope 
we have not got the epidemy. I vow, Miss Venetia, that 
your eyes are as red as if you had been running against the 
wind. Well, to be sure, if you have not been crying ! I 
must go and tell my lady immediately.' 

' Light me to my room,' said Yenetia ; ' I will not disturb 
my mother, as she is unwell.' 

Venetia rose, and Mistress Pauncefort followed her to her 
chamber, and lit her candles. Venetia desired her not to 
remain ; and when she had quitted the chamber, Venetia 
threw herself in her chair and sighed. 

To sleep, it was impossible ; it seemed to Venetia that 
she could never rest again. She wept no more, but her 
distress was very great. She felt it impossible to exist 
through the night without being reconciled to her mother ; 
but she refrained from going to her room, from the fear of 
again meeting her troublesome attendant. She resolved, 
therefore, to wait until she heard Mistress Pauncefort retire 
for the night, and she listened with restless anxiety for the 
sign of her departure in the sound of her footsteps along the 
vestibule on which the doors of Lady Annabel's and her- 
daughter's apartments opened. 

An hour elapsed, and at length the sound was heard.. 
Convinced that Pauncefort had now quitted her mother for 
the night, Venetia ventured forth, and stopping before th& 
door of her mother's room, she knocked gently. There was 
no reply, and in a few minutes Venetia knocked again, and 
rather louder. Still no answer. ' Mamma,' said Venetia, 
in a faltering tone, but no sound replied. Venetia then- 
tried the door, and found it fastened. Then she gave up. 
the effort in despair, and retreating to her own chamber, 
she threw herself on her bed, and wept bitterly. 



114 VENETIA. 

Some time elapsed before she looked up again ; the candles 
were flaring in their sockets. It was a wild windy night ; 
Venetia rose, and withdrew the curtain of her window. 
The black clouds were scudding along the sky, revealing, in 
their occasional but transient rifts, some glimpses of the 
moon, that seemed unusually bright, or of a star that 
trembled with supernatural brilliancy. She stood a while 
gazing on the outward scene that harmonised with her own 
internal agitation : her grief was like the storm, her love 
like the light of that bright moon and star. There came 
over her a desire to see her mother, which she felt irre- 
sistible ; she was resolved that no difficulty, no impediment, 
should prevent her instantly from throwing herself on her 
bosom. It seemed to her that her brain would burn, that 
this awful night could never end without such an interview. 
She opened her door, went forth again into the vestibule, 
and approached with a nervous but desperate step her 
mother's chamber. To her astonishment the door was 
ajar, but there was a light within. With trembling step 
and downcast eyes, Venetia entered the chamber, scarcely 
daring to advance, or to look up. 

' Mother,' she said, but no one answered ; she heard the 
tick of the clock ; it was the only sound. ' Mother,' she 
repeated, and she dared to look up, but the bed was empty. 
There was no mother. Lady Annabel was not in the room. 
Following an irresistible impulse, Venetia knelt by the side 
of her mother's bed and prayed. She addressed, in audible 
and agitated tones, that Almighty and Beneficent Being of 
whom she was so faithful and pure a follower. With sanc- 
tified simplicity, she communicated to her Creator and her 
Saviour all her distress, all her sorrow, all the agony of 
her perplexed and wounded spirit. If she had sinned, she 
prayed for forgiveness, and declared in solitude, to One 
whom she could not deceive, how unintentional was the 
trespass ; if she were only misapprehended, she supplicated 
for comfort and consolation, for support under the heaviest 
visitation she had yet experienced, the displeasure of that 



VENETIA. 115 

eartLly parent whom she revered only second to her heavenly 
Father. 

' For thou art my Father,' said Venetia, ' I have no other 
father but thee, O God ! Forgive me, then, my heavenly 
parent, if in my wilfulness, if in my thoughtless and sinful 
blindness, I have sighed for a father on earth, as well as in 
heaven ! Great have thy mercies been to me, O God ! in a 
mother's love. Turn, then, again to me the heart of that 
mother whom I have offended! Let her look upon her 
child as before ; let her continue to me a double parent, 
and let me pay to her the duty and the devotion that might 
otherwise have been divided ! ' 

' Amen ! ' said a sweet and solemn voice ; and Venetia 
was clasped in her mother's arms. 



CHAPTER III. 

IF the love of Lady Annabel for her child were capable of 
increase, it might have been believed that [it absolutely 
became more profound and ardent after that short-lived 
but painful estrangement which we have related in the 
last chapter. With all Lady Annabel's fascinating qualities 
and noble virtues, a fine observer of human nature enjoying 
opportunities of intimately studying her character, might 
have suspected that an occasion only was wanted to display 
or develop in that lady's conduct no trifling evidence of a 
haughty, proud, and even inexorable spirit. Circumstanced 
as she was at Cherbury, with no one capable or desirous of 
disputing her will, the more gracious and exalted qualities of 
her nature were alone apparent. Entertaining a severe, even 
a sublime sense of the paramount claims of duty in all con- 
ditions and circumstances of life, her own conduct afforded 
an invariable and consistent example of her tenet ; from 
those around her she required little, and that was cheerfully 
granted ; while, on the other hand, her more eminent situa- 
tion alike multiplied her own obligations, and enabled her 

i 2 



116 VENETIA. 

to fulfil them ; she appeared, therefore, to pass her life in 
conferring happiness and in receiving gratitude. Strictly 
religious, of immaculate reputation, rigidly just, systemati- 
cally charitable, dignified in her manners, yet more than 
courteous to her inferiors, and gifted at the same time with 
great self-control and great decision, she was looked up to 
by all within her sphere with a sentiment of affectionate 
veneration. Perhaps there was only one person within her 
little world who, both by disposition and relative situation, 
was qualified in any way to question her undoubted sway, 
or to cross by independence of opinion the tenour of the 
discipline she had established, and this was her child. 
Venetia, with one of the most affectionate and benevolent 
natures in the world, was gifted with a shrewd, inquiring 
mind, and a restless imagination. She was capable of 
forming her own opinions, and had both reason and 
feeling at command to gauge their worth. But to gain an 
influence over this child had been the sole object of Lady 
Annabel's life, and she had hitherto met that success which 
usually awaits in this world the strong purpose of a deter- 
mined spirit. Lady Annabel herself was far too acute a 
person not to have detected early in life the talents of her 
child, and she was proud of them. She had cultivated 
them with exemplary devotion and with admirable profit. 
But Lady Annabel had not less discovered that, in the 
ardent and susceptible temperament of Venetia, means 
were offered by which the heart might be trained not only 
to cope with but overpower the intellect. With great 
powers of pleasing, beauty, accomplishments, a sweet voice, 
a soft manner, a sympathetic heart, Lady Annabel was 
qualified to charm the world ; she had contrived to fascinate 
her daughter. She had inspired Venetia with the most 
romantic attachment for her : such as rather subsists be- 
tween two female friends of the same age and hearts, than 
between individuals in the relative situations which they 
bore to each other. Yet while Venetia thus loved her 
mother, she could not but also respect and revere the 



VENETIA. 117 

superior being whose knowledge was her guide on all sub- 
jects, and whose various accomplishments deprived her 
secluded education of all its disadvantages ; and when she 
felt that one so gifted had devoted her life to the benefit of 
her child, and that this beautiful and peerless lady had no 
other ambition but to be her guardian and attendant spirit ; 
gratitude, fervent and profound, mingled with admiring- 
reverence and passionate affection, and together formed a 
spell that encircled the mind of Venetia with talismanic 
sway. 

Under the despotic influence of these enchanted feelings, 
Venetia was fast growing into womanhood, without a single 
cloud having ever disturbed or sullied the pure and splendid 
heaven of her domestic life. Suddenly the horizon had be- 
come clouded, a storm had gathered and burst, and an 
eclipse could scarcely have occasioned more terror to the 
untutored roamer of the wilderness, than this unexpected 
catastrophe to one so inexperienced in the power of the 
passions as our heroine. Her heaven was again serene ; 
but such was the effect of this ebullition on her character, 
so keen was her dread of again encountering the agony of 
another misunderstanding with her mother, that she re- 
coiled with trembling from that subject which had so often 
and so deeply engaged her secret thoughts ; and the idea 
of her father, associated as it now was with pain, mor- 
tification, and misery, never rose to her imagination but 
instantly to be shunned as some unhallowed image, of 
which the bitter contemplation was fraught with not less 
disastrous consequences than the denounced idolatry of the 
holy people. 

Whatever, therefore, might be the secret reasons which 
impelled Lady Annabel to shroud the memory of the lost 
parent of her child in such inviolate gloom, it is certain 
that the hitherto restless though concealed curiosity of 
Venetia upon the subject, the rash demonstration to which 
it led, and the consequence of her boldness, instead of 
threatening to destroy in an instant the deep and matured 



118 VENETIA. 

system of her mother, had, on the whole, greatly contributed 
to the fulfilment of the very purpose for which Lady Anna- 
bel had so long laboured. That lady spared no pains in 
following up the advantage which her acuteness and know- 
ledge of her daughter's character assured her that she had 
secured. She hovered round her child more like an en- 
amoured lover than a fond mother ; she hung upon her 
looks, she read her thoughts, she anticipated every want 
and wish ; her dulcet tones seemed even sweeter than be- 
fore ; her soft and elegant manners even more tender and 
refined. Though even in her childhood Lady Annabel had 
rather guided than commanded Venetia ; now she rather 
consulted than guided her. She seized advantage of the 
advanced character and mature appearance of Venetia to 
treat her as a woman rather than a child, and as a friend 
rather than a daughter. Venetia yielded herself up to this 
nattering and fascinating condescension. Her love for her 
mother amounted to passion ; she had no other earthly 
object or desire but to pass her entire life in her sole and 
sweet society ; she could conceive no sympathy deeper or 
more delightful ; the only unhappiness she had ever known 
had been occasioned by a moment trenching upon its ex- 
clusive privilege ; Venetia could not picture to herself that 
such a pure and entrancing existence could ever experience 
a change. 

And this mother, this devoted yet mysterious mother, 
jealous of her child's regret for a father that she had lost, 
and whom she had never known! shall we ever penetrate 
the secret of her heart ? 



CHAPTER IV. 

IT was in the enjoyment of these exquisite feelings that a 
year, and more than another year, elapsed at our lone hall 
of Cherbury. Happiness and content seemed at least the 
blessed destiny of the Herberts. Venetia grew in years, 



VENETIA. 1 1 9 

and grace, and loveliness ; each day apparently more her 
mother's joy, and each day bound to that mother by, if 
possible, more ardent love. She had never again expe- 
rienced those uneasy thoughts which at times had haunted 
her from her infancy ; separated from her mother, indeed, 
scarcely for an hour together, she had no time to muse. 
Her studies each day becoming more various and interest- 
ing, and pursued with so gifted and charming a companion, 
entirely engrossed her ; even the exercise that was her re- 
laxation was participated by Lady Annabel; and the 
mother and daughter, bounding together on their steeds, 
were fanned by the same breeze, and freshened by the 
same graceful and healthy exertion. 

One day the post, that seldom arrived at Cherbury, 
brought a letter to Lady Annabel, the perusal of which 
evidently greatly agitated her. Her countenance changed 
as her eye glanced over the pages ; her hand trembled as 
she held it. But she made no remark ; and succeeded in 
subduing her emotion so quickly that Venetia, although 
she watched her mother with anxiety, did not feel justified 
in interfering with inquiring sympathy. But while Lady 
Annabel resumed her usual calm demeanour, she relapsed 
into unaccustomed silence, and, soon rising from the break- 
fast table, moved to the window, and continued apparently 
gazing on the garden, with her face averted from Venetia 
for some time, At length she turned to her, and said, ' I 
think, Venetia, of calling on the Doctor to-day ; there is 
business on which I wish to consult him, but I will not 
trouble you, dearest, to accompany me. I must take the 
carriage, and it is a long and tiring drive.' 

There was a tone of decision even in the slightest obser- 
vations of Lady Annabel, which, however sweet might be 
the voice in which they were uttered, scarcely encouraged 
their propriety to be canvassed. Now Venetia was far 
from desirous of being separated from her mother this 
morning. It was not a vain and idle curiosity, prompted 
by the receipt of the letter and ;its consequent effects, both 



120 VENETIA. 

in the emotion of her mother and the visit which it had 
rendered necessary, that swayed her breast. The native 
dignity of a well- disciplined mind exempted Venetia from 
such feminine weakness. But some consideration might 
be due to the quick sympathy of an affectionate spirit that 
had witnessed, with corresponding feeling, the disturbance 
of the being to whom she was devoted. Why this occa- 
sional and painful mystery that ever and anon clouded the 
heaven of their love, and flung a frigid shadow over the 
path of a sunshiny life ? Why was not Venetia to share the 
sorrow or the care of her only friend, as well as participate 
in her joy and her content ? There were other claims, too, 
to this confidence, besides those of the heart. Lady Anna- 
bel was not merely her only friend ; she was her parent, her 
only parent, almost, for aught she had ever heard or learnt, 
her only relative. For her mother's family, though she 
was aware of their existence by the freedom with which 
Lady Annabel ever mentioned them, and though Venetia 
was conscious that an occasional correspondence was main- 
tained between them and Cherbury, occupied no station 
in Venetia' s heart, scarcely in her memory. That noble 
family were nullities to her ; far distant, apparently es- 
tranged from her hearth, except in form she had never seen 
them ; they were associated in her recollection with none 
of the sweet ties of kindred. Her grandfather was dead 
without her ever having received his blessing ; his succes- 
sor, her uncle, was an ambassador, long absent from his 
country ; her only aunt married to a soldier, and established 
at a foreign station. Venetia envied Dr. Masham the 
confidence which was extended to him ; it seemed to her, 
even leaving out of sight the intimate feelings that subsisted 
between her and her mother, that the claims of blood to 
this confidence were at least as strong as those of friend- 
ship. But Venetia stifled these emotions ; she parted from 
her mother with a kind, yet somewhat mournful expression. 
Lady Annabel might have read a slight sentiment of affec- 
tionate reproach in the demeanour of her daughter when 



VENETIA. 121 

she bade her farewell. Whatever might be the conscious- 
ness of the mother, she was successful in concealing her 
impression. Very kind, but calm and inscrutable, Lady 
Annabel, having given directions for postponing the dinner- 
hour, embraced her child and entered the chariot. 

Venetia, from the terrace, watched her mother's progress 
through the park. After gazing for some minutes, a tear 
stole down her cheek. She started, as if surprised at her 
own emotion. And now the carriage was out of sight, and 
Venetia would have recurred to some of those resources 
which were ever at hand for the employment or amuse- 
ment of her secluded life. But the favourite volume ceased 
to interest this morning, and almost fell from her hand. 
She tried her spinet, but her ear seemed to have lost its 
music; she looked at her easel, but the cunning had fled 
from her touch. 

Restless and disquieted, she knew not why, Venetia went 
forth again into the garden. All nature smiled around her ; 
the flitting birds were throwing their soft shadows over the 
sunny lawns, and rustling amid the blossoms of the varie- 
gated groves. The golden wreaths of the laburnum and 
the silver knots of the chestnut streamed and glittered 
around ; the bees were as busy as the birds, and the whole 
scene was suffused and penetrated with brilliancy and 
odour. It still was spring, and yet the gorgeous approach 
of summer, like the advancing procession of some trium- 
phant king, might almost be detected amid the lingering 
freshness of the year ; a lively and yet magnificent period, 
blending, as it were, Attic grace with Roman splendour ; a 
time when hope and fruition for once meet, when existence 
is most full of delight, alike delicate and voluptuous, and 
when the human frame is most sensible to the gaiety and 
grandeur of nature. 

And why was not the spirit of the beautiful and innocent 
Venetia as bright as the surrounding scene? There are 
moods of mind that baffle analysis, that arise from a mys- 
terious sympathy we cannot penetrate. At this moment the 



122 VENETIA. 

idea of her father irresistibly recurred to the imagination of 
Venetia. She could not withstand the conviction that the 
receipt of the mysterious letter and her mother's agitation 
were by some inexplicable connexion linked with that for- 
bidden subject. Strange incidents of her life flitted across 
her memory : her mother weeping on the day they visited 
Marringhurst ; the mysterious chambers ; the nocturnal 
visit of Lady Annabel that Cadurcis had witnessed ; her 
unexpected absence from her apartment when Venetia, in 
her despair, had visited her some months ago. What was 
the secret that enveloped her existence ? Alone, which 
was unusual ; dispirited, she knew not why ; and brooding 
over thoughts which haunted her like evil spirits, Venetia 
at length yielded to a degree of nervous excitement which 
amazed her. She looked up to the uninhabited wing of the 
mansion with an almost fierce desire to penetrate its mys- 
teries. It seemed to her that a strange voice came whis- 
pering on the breeze, urging her to the fulfilment of a 
mystical mission. With a vague, yet wild, purpose she 
entered the house, and took her way to her mother's cham- 
ber. Mistress Pauncefort was there. Venetia endeavoured 
to assume her accustomed serenity. The waiting- woman 
bustled about, arranging the toilet-table, which had been 
for a moment discomposed, putting away a cap, folding up 
a shawl, and indulging in a multitude of inane observations 
which little harmonised with the high-strung tension of 
Venetia' s mind. Mistress Pauncefort opened a casket with 
a spring lock, in which she placed some trinkets of her 
mistress. Venetia stood by her in silence ; her eye, vacant 
and wandering, beheld the interior of the casket. There 
must have been something in it, the sight of which greatly 
agitated her, for Venetia turned pale, and in a moment left 
the chamber and retired to her own room. 

She locked her door, threw herself in a chair ; almost 
gasping for breath, she covered her face with her hands. 
It was some minutes before she recovered comparative 
composure ; she rose and looked in the mirror ; her face 



VENETIA. 123 

was quite white, but her eyes glittering with excitement. 
She walked up and down her room with a troubled step, 
and a scarlet flush alternately returned to and retired from 
her changing cheek. Then she leaned against a cabinet in 
thought. She was disturbed from her musings by the 
sound of Pauncefort's step along the vestibule, as she 
quitted her mother's chamber. In a few minutes Venetia 
herself stepped forth into the vestibule and listened. All 
was silent. The golden morning had summoned the whole 
household to its enjoyment. Not a voice, not a domestic 
sound, broke the complete stillness. Venetia again re- 
paired to the apartment of Lady Annabel. Her step was 
light,, but agitated ; it seemed that she scarcely dared to 
breathe. She opened the door, rushed to the cabinet, 
pressed the spring lock, caught at something that it con- 
tained, and hurried again to her own chamber. 

And what is this prize that the trembling Venetia holds 
almost convulsively in her grasp, apparently without daring 
even to examine it ? Is this the serene and light-hearted girl, 
whose face was like the cloudless splendour of a sunny day ? 
Why is she so pallid and perturbed ? What strong impulse 
fills her frame ? She clutches in her hand a key ! 

On that tempestuous night of passionate sorrow which 
succeeded the first misunderstanding between Venetia and 
her mother, when the voice of Lady Annabel had suddenly 
blended with that of her kneeling child, and had ratified 
with her devotional concurrence her wailing supplications ; 
even at the moment when Venetia, in a rapture of love and 
duty, felt herself pressed to her mother's reconciled heart, 
it had not escaped her that Lady Annabel held in her hand 
a key ; and though the feelings which that night had so 
forcibly developed, and which the subsequent conduct of 
Lady Annabel had so carefully and skilfully cherished, had 
impelled Venetia to banish and erase from her thought and 
memory all the associations which that spectacle, however 
slight, was calculated to awaken, still, in her present mood, 
the unexpected vision of the same instrument, identical she 



124 VENETIA. 

could not doubt, had triumphed in an instant over all the 
long discipline of her mind and conduct, in an instant had 
baffled and dispersed her self-control, and been hailed as 
the providential means by which she might at length 
penetrate that mystery which she now felt no longer 
supportable. 

The clock of the belfry of Cherbury at this moment struck, 
and Venetia instantly sprang from her seat. It reminded 
her of the preciousness of the present morning. Her mother 
was indeed absent, but her mother would return. Before 
that event a great fulfilment was to occur. Venetia, still 
grasping the key, as if it were the talisman of her existence, 
looked up to Heaven as if she required for her allotted task 
an immediate and special protection ; her lips seemed to 
move, and then she again quitted her apartment. As she 
passed through an oriel in her way towards the gallery, she 
observed Pauncefort in the avenue of the park, moving in 
the direction of the keeper's lodge. This emboldened her. 
With a hurried step she advanced along the gallery, and at 
length stood before the long-sealed door that had so often 
excited her strange curiosity. Once she looked around ; 
but no one was near, not a sound was heard. "With a fal- 
tering hand she touched the lock ; but her powers deserted 
her : for a minute she believed that the key, after all, would 
not solve the mystery. And yet the difficulty arose only 
i'rom her own agitation. She rallied her courage; once 
snore she made the trial ; the key fitted with completeness, 
and the lock opened with ease, and Venetia found herself 
in a small and scantily-furnished ante-chamber. Closing 
the door with noiseless care, Venetia stood trembling in the 
mysterious chamber, where apparently there was nothing to 
excite wonder. The chamber into which the ante-room 
opened was still closed, and it was some minutes before the 
adventurous daughter of Lady Annabel could summon 
courage for the enterprise which awaited her. 

The door yielded without an effort. Venetia stepped into a 
spacious and lofty chamber. For a moment she paused almost 



VENETIA. ] 25 

upon the threshold, and looked around her with a vague and 
misty vision. Anon she distinguished something of the cha- 
racter of the apartment. In the recess of a large oriel win- 
dow that looked upon the park, and of which the blinds were 
nearly drawn, was an old-fashioned yet sumptuous toilet- 
table of considerable size, arranged as if for use. Opposite 
this window, in a corresponding recess, was what might be 
deemed a bridal bed, its furniture being of white satin richly 
embroidered ; the curtains half closed ; and suspended from 
the canopy was a wreath of roses that had once emulated, 
or rather excelled, the lustrous purity of the hangings, but 
now were wan and withered. The centre of the inlaid and 
polished floor of the apartment was covered with a Tournay 
carpet of brilliant yet tasteful decoration. An old cabinet 
of fanciful workmanship, some chairs of ebony, and some 
girandoles of silver completed the furniture of the room r 
save that at its extreme end, exactly opposite to the door 
by which Yenetia entered, covered with a curtain of green 
velvet, was what she concluded must be a picture. 

An awful stillness pervaded the apartment : Venetia her- 
self, with a face paler even than the hangings of the mys- 
terious bed, stood motionless with suppressed breath, gazing 
on the distant curtain with a painful glance of agitated 
fascination. At length, summoning her energies as if for 
the achievement of some terrible yet inevitable enterprise, 
she crossed the room, and averting her face, and closing 
her eyes in a paroxysm of nervous excitement, she stretched 
forth her arm, and with a rapid motion withdrew the curtain. 
The harsh sound of the brass rings drawn quickly over th& 
rod, the only noise that had yet met her ear in this mystical 
chamber, made her start and tremble. She looked up, she 
beheld, in a broad and massy frame, the full-length portrait 
of a man. 

A man in the very spring of sunny youth, and of radiant 
beauty. Above the middle height, yet with a form that 
displayed exquisite grace, he was habited in a green tunic 
that enveloped his figure to advantage, and became the scene 



126 VENETIA. 

in which, he was placed : a park, with a castle in the dis- 
tance ; while a groom at hand held a noble steed, that 
seemed impatient for the chase. The countenance of its 
intended rider met fully the gaze of the spectator. It was 
a countenance of singular loveliness and power. The lips 
and the moulding of the chin resembled the eager and im- 
passioned tenderness of the shape of Antinous ; but instead 
of the effeminate sullenness of the eye, and the narrow 
smoothness of the forehead, shone an expression of profound 
and piercing thought. On each side of the clear and open 
brow descended, even to the shoulders, the clustering locks 
of golden hair ; while the eyes, large and yet deep, beamed 
with a spiritual energy, and shone like two wells of crystal- 
line water that reflect the all-beholding heavens. 

Now when Venetia Herbert beheld this countenance a 
change came over her. It seemed that when her eyes met 
the eyes of the portrait, some mutual interchange of sym- 
pathy occurred between them. She freed herself in an instant 
from the apprehension and timidity that before oppressed 
her. Whatever might ensue, a vague conviction of having 
achieved a great object pervaded, as it were, her being. 
Some great end, vast though indefinite, had been fulfilled. 
Abstract and fearless, she gazed upon the dazzling visage 
with a prophetic heart. Her soul was in a tumult, oppressed 
with thick-coming fancies too big for words, panting for 
expression. There was a word which must be spoken : it 
trembled on her convulsive lip, and would not sound. She 
looked around her with an eye glittering with unnatural 
fire, as if to supplicate some invisible and hovering spirit to 
her rescue, or that some floating and angelic chorus might 
warble the thrilling word whose expression seemed absolutely 
necessary to her existence. Her cheek is flushed, her eye 
wild and tremulous, the broad blue veins of her immaculate 
brow quivering and distended ; her waving hair falls back 
over her forehead, and rustles like a wood before the storm. 
She seems a priestess in the convulsive throes of inspiration, 
and about to breathe the oracle. 



VENETIA. 127 

The picture, as we have mentioned, was hung in a broad 
and massy frame. In the centre of its base was worked an 
escutcheon, and beneath the shield this inscription : 

MARMION HERBERT, JS,T. XX. 

Yet there needed not these letters to guide the agitated 
spirit of Venetia, for, before her eye had reached them, the 
word was spoken ; and falling on her knees before the por- 
trait, the daughter of Lady Annabel had exclaimed, ' My 
father!' 



CHAPTER V. 

THE daughter still kneels before the form of the father, of 
whom she had heard for the first time in her life. He is at 
length discovered. It was, then, an irresistible destiny that, 
after the wild musings and baffled aspirations of so many 
years, had guided her to this chamber. She is the child of 
Marmion Herbert ; she beholds her lost parent. That 
being of supernatural beauty, on whom she gazes with a 
look of blended reverence and love, is her father. What a 
revelation ! Its reality exceeded the wildest dreams of her 
romance ; her brightest visions of grace and loveliness and 
genius seemed personified in this form ; the form of one to 
whom she was bound by the strongest of all earthly ties, of 
one on whose heart she had a claim second only to that of 
the being by whose lips his name was never mentioned. 
Was he, then, no more ? Ah ! could she doubt that bit- 
terest calamity ? Ah ! was it, was it any longer a marvel, 
that one who had lived in the light of those seraphic eyes, 
and had watched them until their terrestrial splendour had 
been for ever extinguished, should shrink from the converse 
that could remind her of the catastrophe of all her earthly 
hopes ! This chamber, then, was the temple of her mother's 
woe, the tomb of her baffled affections and bleeding heart. 
No wonder that Lady Annabel, the desolate Lady Annabel, 
that almost the same spring must have witnessed the most 



128 VENETIA. 

favoured and the most disconsolate of women, should have 
fled from the world that had awarded her at the same time 
a lot so dazzling and so full of despair. Venetia felt that 
the existence of her mother's child, her own fragile being, 
could have been that mother's sole link to life. The heart 
of the young widow of Marmion Herbert must have broken 
but for Venetia ; and the consciousness of that remaining 
tie, and the duties that it involved, could alone have sus- 
tained the victim under a lot of such unparalleled bitter- 
ness. The tears streamed down her cheek as she thought 
of her mother's misery, and her mother's gentle love ; the 
misery that she had been so cautious her child should never 
share ; the vigilant affection that, with all her own hopes 
blighted, had still laboured to compensate to her child for a 
deprivation the fulness of which Venetia could only now 
comprehend. 

When, where, why did he die ? Oh that she might 
talk of him to her mother for ever ! It seemed that life 
might pass away in listening to his praises. Marmion 
Herbert ! and who was Marmion Herbert ? Young as he 
was, command and genius, the pride of noble passions, all 
the glory of a creative mind, seemed stamped upon his 
brow. With all his marvellous beauty, he seemed a being 
born for greatness. Dead ! in the very burst of his spring, 
a spring so sweet and splendid ; could he be dead ? Why, 
then, was he ever born ? It seemed to her that he could 
not be dead ; there was an animated look about the form, 
that seemed as if it could not die without leaving mankind 
a prodigal legacy of fame. 

Venetia turned and looked upon her parents' bridal bed. 
Now that she had discovered her father's portrait, every 
article in the room interested her, for her imagination con- 
nected everything with him. She touched the wreath of 
withered roses, and one instantly broke away from the 
circle, and fell ; she knelt down, and gathered up the 
scattered leaves, and -placed them in her bosom. She 
approached the table in the oriel : in its centre was a 



VENETIA. 129 

volume, on which reposed a dagger of curious workman- 
ship ; the volume bound in velvet, and the word ' ANNABEL ' 
embroidered upon it in gold. Venefcia unclasped it. The 
volume was MS. ; in a fly-leaf were written these words : 

' TO THE LADY OF MY LOVE, FROM HEE MAEMION HERBERT.' 

With a fluttering heart, yet sparkling eye, Venetia sank 
into a chair, which was placed before the table, with all her 
soul concentred in the contents of this volume. Leaning on 
her right hand, which shaded her agitated brow, she turned 
a page of the volume with a trembling hand. It contained 
a sonnet, delineating the feelings of a lover at the first 
sight of his beloved, a being to him yet unknown. Venetia 
perused with breathless interest the graceful and passionate 
picture of her mother's beauty. A series of similar com- 
positions detailed the history of the poet's heart, and all the 
thrilling adventures of his enchanted life. Not an incident, 
not a word, not a glance, in that spell-bound prime of ex- 
istence, that was not commemorated by his lyre in strains 
as sweet and as witching ! Now he poured forth his 
passion ; now his doubts ; now his hopes ; now came the 
glowing hour when he was first assured of his felicity ; the 
next page celebrated her visit to the castle of his fathers ; 
and another led her to the altar. 

With a flushed cheek and an excited eye, Venetia had 
rapidly pored over these ardent annals of the heart from 
whose blood she had sprung. She turns the page ; she 
starts ; the colour deserts her countenance ; a mist glides 
over her vision ; she clasps her hands with convulsive 
energy ; she sinks back in her chair. In a few moments 
she extends one hand, as if fearful again to touch the book 
that had excited, so much emotion, raises herself in her seat, 
looks around her with a vacant and perplexed gaze, appa- 
rently succeeds in collecting herself, and then seizes, with 
an eager grasp, the volume, and throwing herself on her 
knees before the chair, her long locks hanging on each side 
K 



130 VENETIA. 

over a cheek crimson as the sunset, loses her whole soul in 
the lines which the next page reveals. 

ON THE NIGHT OUR DAUGHTER WAS BORN. 



Within our heaven of love, the new-born star 
We long devoutly -watched, like shepherd kings, 
Steals into light, and, floating from afar, 
Methinks some bright transcendent seraph sings, 
Waving with flashing light her radiant wings, 
Immortal welcome to the stranger fair : 
To us a child is born. With transport clings 
The mother to the babe she sighed to bear ; 
Of all our treasured loves the long-expected heir ! 



My daughter ! can it be a daughter now 
Shall greet my being with her infant smile ? 
And shall I press that fair and taintless brow 
With my fond lips, and tempt, with many a wile 
Of playful love, those features to beguile 
A parent with their mirth ? In the wild sea 
Of this dark life, behold a little isle 
Rises amid the waters, bright and free, 
A haven for my hopes of fond security ! 



And thou shalt bear a name my line has loved, 

And their fair daughters owned for many an age, 

Since first our fiery blood a wanderer roved, 

And made in sunnier lands his pilgrimage, 

Where proud defiance with the waters wage 

The sea-born city's walls ; the graceful towers 

Loved by the bard and honoured by the sage ! 

Aly own VENETIA now shall gild our bowers, 

And with her spell enchain our life's enchanted hours ! 



Oh ! if the blessing of a father's heart 

Hath aught of sacred in its deep-breath'd prayer, 

Skilled to thy gentle being to impart, 

As thy bright form itself, a fate as fair ; 

On thee I breathe that blessing ! Let me share, 

God ! her joys ; and if the dark behest 

Of woe resistless, and avoidless care, 

Hath not gone forth, oh ! spare this gentle guest, 

And wreak thy needful wrath on my resigned breast ! 



VENETIA. 131 

An hour elapsed, and Venetia did not move. Over and 
over again she conned the only address from the lips of her 
father that had ever reached her ear. A strange inspiration 
seconded the exertion of an exercised memory. The duty 
was fulfilled, the task completed. Then a sound was heard 
without. The thought that her mother had returned oc- 
curred to her ; she looked up, the big tears streaming down 
her face ; she listened, like a young hind just roused by the 
still-distant huntsman, quivering and wild: she listened, 
and she sprang up, replaced the volume, arranged the chair, 
cast one long, lingering, feverish glance at the portrait, 
skimmed through the room, hesitated one moment in the 
ante- chamber ; opened, as all was silent, the no longer 
mysterious door, turned the noiseless lock, tripped lightly 
along the vestibule ; glided into her mother's empty apart- 
ment, reposited the key that had opened so many wonders 
in the casket ; and, then, having hurried to her own cham- 
ber, threw herself on her bed in a paroxysm of contending 
emotions, that left her no power of pondering over the 
strange discovery that had already given a new colour to 
her existence. 



CHAPTER VI. 

HER mother had not returned ; it was a false alarm ; but 
Venetia could not quit her bed. There she remained, re- 
peating to herself her father's verses. Then one thought 
alone filled her being. Was he dead? Was this fond 
father, who had breathed this fervent blessing over her 
birth, and invoked on his own head all the woe and mis- 
fortunes of her destiny, was he, indeed, no more ? How 
swiftly must the arrow have sped after he received the 
announcement that a child was given to him, 

Of all his treasured loves the long-expected heir! 
He could scarcely have embraced her ere the great Being, 
to whom he had offered his prayer, summoned him to his 

x 2 



132 VENETIA. 

presence ! Of that father she had not the slightest recol- 
lection ; she had ascertained that she had reached Cherbury 
a child, even in arms, and she knew that her father had 
never lived under the roof. What an awful bereavement ! 
Was it wonderful that her mother was inconsolable? Was 
it wonderful that she could not endure even his name to be 
mentioned in her presence ; that not the slightest allusion 
to his existence could be tolerated by a wife who had been 
united to such a peerless being, only to behold him torn 
away from her embraces ? Oh ! could he, indeed, be dead ? 
That inspired countenance that seemed immortal, had it in 
a moment been dimmed ? and all the symmetry of that 
matchless form, had it indeed been long mouldering in the 
dust ? Why should she doubt it ? Ah ! why, indeed ? 
How could she doubt it ? Why, ever and anon, amid the 
tumult of her excited mind, came there an unearthly 
whisper to her ear, mocking her with the belief that he 
still lived ? But he was dead ; he must be dead ; and why 
did she live ? Could she survive what she had seen and 
learnt this day ? Did she wish to survive it ? But her 
mother, her mother with all her sealed-up sorrows, had 
survived him. Why ? For her sake ; for her child ; for 
' his own Venetia ! ' His own ! 

She clenched her feverish hand, her temples beat with 
violent palpitations, her brow was burning hot. Time flew 
on, and every minute Venetia was more sensible of the im- 
possibility of rising to welcome her mother. That mother 
at length returned ; Venetia could not again mistake the 
wheels of the returning carriage. Some minutes passed, 
and tli ere was a knock at her door. With a choking voice 
Venei 'a bade them enter. It was Pauncefort. 

' Well, Miss,' she exclaimed, ' if you ayn't here, after all ! 
I told my lady, "My lady," says I, " I am sure Miss Venetia 
must be in the park, for I saw her go out myself, and I have 
never seen her come home." And, after all, you are here. 
My lady has come home, you know, Miss, and has been 
inquiring for you several times.' 



VENETIA. 133 

' Tell mamma that I am not very well,' said Venetia, in a 
low voice, 'and that I have been obliged to lie down.' 

' Not well, Miss,' exclaimed Pauncefort ; ' and what can 
be the matter with you ? I am afraid you have walked too 
much ; overdone it, I dare say ; or, mayhap, you have caught 
cold ; it is an easterly wind : for I was saying to John this 
morning, " John," says I, " if Miss Venetia will walk about 
with only a handkerchief tied round her head, why, what 
can be expected ? " 

' I have only a headache, a very bad headache, Paunce- 
fort ; I wish to be quiet,' said Venetia. 

Pauncefort left the room accordingly, and straightway 
proceeded to Lady Annabel, when she communicated the 
information that Miss Venetia was in the house, after all, 
though she had never seen her return, and that she was 
lying down because she had a very bad headache. Lady 
Annabel, of course, did not lose a moment in visiting her 
darling. She entered the room softly, so softly that she 
was not heard ; Venetia was lying on her bed, with her 
back to the door. Lady Annabel stood by her bedside for 
some moments unnoticed. At length Venetia heaved a 
deep sigh. Her mother then said in a soft voice, ' Are you 
in pain, darling ? ' 

' Is that mamma ? ' said Venetia, turning with quickness. 

' You are ill, dear,' said Lady Annabel, taking her hand. 
' Your hand is hot ; you are feverish. How long has my 
Venetia felt ill ? ' 

Venetia could not answer; she did nothing but sigh. 
Her strange manner excited her mother's wonder. Lady 
Annabel sat by the bedside, still holding her daughter's 
hand in hers, watching her with a glance of great anxiety. 

' Answer me, my love,' she repeated in a voice of tender- 
ness. ' What do you feel ? ' 

' My head, my head,' murmured Venetia. 

Her mother pressed her own hand to her daughter's 
brow ; it was very hot. ' Does that pain you ? ' inquired 
Lady Annabel ; but Venetia did not reply ; her look was 



134 VENETIA. 

wild and abstracted. Her mother gently withdrew her 
hand, and then summoned Pauncefort, with whom she 
communicated without permitting her to enter the room. 

' Miss Herbert is very ill,' said Lady Annabel, pale, bu 
in a firm tone. ' I am alarmed about her. She appears to 
me to have fever ; send instantly to Southport for Mr. 
Hawkins ; and let the messenger use and urge all possible 
expedition. Be in attendance in the vestibule, Pauncefort ; 
I shall not quit her room, but she must be kept perfectly 
quiet.' 

Lady Annabel then drew her chair to the bedside of her 
daughter, and bathed her temples at intervals with rose- 
water ; but none of these attentions apparently attracted 
the notice of the sufferer. She was, it would seem, utterly 
unconscious of all that was occurring. She now lay with 
her face turned towards her mother, but did not exchange 
even looks with her. She was restless, and occasionally 
she sighed deeply. 

Once, by way of experiment, Lady Annabel again ad- 
dressed her, but Venetia gave no answer. Then the 
mother concluded what, indeed, had before attracted her 
suspicion, that Venetia's head was affected. But then, 
what was this strange, this sudden attack, which appeared 
to have prostrated her daughter's faculties in an instant ? 
A few hours back, and Lady Annabel had parted from 
Venetia in all the glow of health and beauty. The season 
was most genial ; her exercise had doubtless been mode- 
rate ; as for her general health, so complete was her con- 
stitution, and so calm the tenour of her life, that Yenetia 
had scarcely experienced in her whole career a single hour 
of indisposition. It was an anxious period of suspense 
until the medical attendant arrived from Southport. For- 
tunately he was one in whom, from reputation, Lady 
Annabel was disposed to place great trust ; and his ma- 
tared years, his thoughtful manner, and acute inquiries, 
confirmed her favourable opinion of him. All that Mr. - 
Hawkins could say, however, was, that Miss Herbert had 



VENETIA. 135 

a great deal of fever, but the cause was concealed, and the 
suddenness of the attack perplexed him. He administered 
one of the usual remedies ; and after an hour had elapsed, 
and no favourable change occurring, he blooded her. He 
quitted Cherbury, with the promise of returning late in the 
evening, having several patients whom he was obliged to 
visit. 

The night drew on ; the chamber was now quite closed, 
but Lady Annabel never quitted it. She sat reading, 
removed from her daughter, that her presence might not 
disturb her, for Venetia seemed inclined to sleep. Sud- 
denly Venetia spoke ; but she said only one word, 
' Father ! ' 

Lady Annabel started; her book nearly fell from her 
hand ; she grew very pale. Quite breathless, she listened, 
and again Venetia spoke, and again called upon her father. 
Now, with a great effort, Lady Annabel stole on tiptoe to 
the bedside of her daughter. Venetia was lying on her 
back, her eyes were closed, her lips still as it were quiver- 
ing with the strange word they had dared to pronounce. 
Again her voice sounded ; she chanted, in an unearthly 
voice, verses. The perspiration stood in large drops on the 
pallid forehead of the mother as she listened. Still Venetia 
proceeded ; and Lady Annabel, throwing herself on her 
knees, held up her hands to Heaven in an agony of astonish- 
ment, terror, and devotion. 

Now there was again silence ; but her mother remained 
apparently buried in prayer. Again Venetia spoke ; again 
she repeated the mysterious stanzas. With convulsive 
agony her mother listened to every fatal line that she un- 
consciously pronounced. 

The secret was then discovered. Yes ! Venetia must 
have penetrated the long-closed chamber ; all the labours of 
years had in a moment been subverted ; Venetia had dis- 
covered her parent, and the effects of the discovery might, 
perhaps, be her death. Then it was that Lady Annabel, in 
the torture of her mind, poured forth her supplications that 



136 VENETIA. 

the life or the heart of her child might never be lost to her. 
' Grant, merciful God ! ' she exclaimed, ' that this sole 
hope of my being may be spared to me. Grant, if she be 
spared, that she may never desert her mother ! And for 
him, of whom she has heard this day for the first time, let 
him be to her as if he were no more ! May she never learn 
that he lives ! May she never comprehend the secret agony 
of her mother's life ! Save her, God ! save her from his 
fatal, his irresistible influence ! May she remain pure and 
virtuous as she has yet lived ! May she remain true to thee, 
and true to thy servant, who now bows before thee ! Look 
down upon me at this moment with gracious mercy ; turn 
to me my daughter's heart ; and, if it be my dark doom to 
be in this world a widow, though a wife, add not to this 
bitterness that I shall prove a mother without a child ! ' 

At this moment the surgeon returned. It was absolutely 
necessary that Lady Annabel should compose herself. She 
exerted all that strength of character for which she was 
remarkable. From this moment she resolved, if her life 
were the forfeit, not to quit for an instant the bedside of 
Venetia until she was declared out of danger ; and feeling 
conscious that if she once indulged her own feelings, she 
might herself soon be in a situation scarcely less hazardous 
than her daughter's, she controlled herself with a mighty 
effort. Calm as a statue, she received the medical atten- 
dant, who took the hand of the unconscious Venetia with 
apprehension too visibly impressed upon his grave coun- 
tenance. As he took her hand, Venetia opened her eyes, 
stared at her mother and her attendant, and then imme- 
diately closed them. 

' She has slept ? ' inquired Lady Annabel. 

' No,' said the surgeon, ' no : this is not sleep ; it is a 
feverish trance that brings her no refreshment.' He took 
out his watch, and marked her pulse with great attention ; 
then he placed his hand on her brow, and shook his head. 
' These beautiful curls must come off,' he said. Lady 
Annabel glided to the table, and instantly brought the 



VENETIA. 137 

scissors, as if the delay of an instant might be fatal. The 
surgeon cut off those long golden locks. Venetia raised 
her hand to her head, and said, in a low voice, ' They are 
for my father.' Lady Annabel leant upon the surgeon's 
arm and shook. 

Now he led the mother to the window, and spoke in a 
hushed tone. 

* Is it possible that there is anything on your daughter's 
micd, Lady Annabel?' he inquired 

The agitated mother looked at the inquirer, and then at 
her daughter ; and then for a moment she raised her hand 
to her eyes; then she replied, in a low but firm voice, 
* Yes.' 

' Your ladyship must judge whether you wish me to be 
acquainted with it,' said Mr. Hawkins, calmly. 

' My daughter has suddenly become acquainted, sir, with 
some family incidents of a painful nature, and the know- 
ledge of which I have hitherto spared her. They are events 
long past, and their consequences are now beyond all 
control.' 

' She knows, then, the worst ? ' 

' Without her mind, I cannot answer that question,' said 
Lady Annabel. 

' It is my duty to tell you that Miss Herbert is in im- 
minent danger ; she has every appearance of a fever of a 
malignant character. I cannot answer for her life.' 

' God ! ' exclaimed Lady Annabel. 

' Yet you must compose yourself, my dear lady. Her 
chance of recovery greatly depends upon the vigilance of 
her attendants. I shall bleed her again, and place leeches 
on her temples. There is inflammation on the brain. 
There are other remedies also not less powerful. We must 
not despair ; we have no cause to despair until we find 
these fail. I shall not leave her again ; and, for your satis- 
faction, not for my own, I shall call in additional advice, the 
aid of a physician.' 

A messenger accordingly was instantly despatched for 



138 VENETIA. 

the physician, who resided at a town more distant than 
Southport ; the very town, by-the-bye, where Morgana, the 
gipsy, was arrested. They contrived, with the aid of Paunce- 
fort, to undress Venetia, and place her in her bed, for 
hitherto they had refrained from this exertion. At this 
moment the withered leaves of a white rose fell from 
Venetia' s dress. A sofa-bed was then made for Lady 
Annabel, of which, however, she did not avail herself. The 
whole night she sat by her daughter's side, watching every 
movement of Venetia, refreshing her hot brow and parched 
lips, or arranging, at every opportunity, her disordered 
pillows. About an hour past midnight the surgeon retired 
to rest, for a few hours, in the apartment prepared for him, 
and Pauncefort, by the desire of her mistress, also with- 
drew : Lady Annabel was alone with her child, and with 
those agitated thoughts which the strange occurrences of 
the day were well calculated to excite. 



CHAPTER VII. 

EAELT in the morning the physician arrived at Cherbury. 
It remained for him only to approve of the remedies which 
had been pursued. No material change, however, had oc- 
curred in the state of Venetia : she had not slept, and still 
she seemed unconscious of what was occurring. The gra- 
cious interposition of Nature seemed the only hope. When 
the medical men had withdrawn to consult in the terrace- 
room, Lady Annabel beckoned to Pauncefort, and led her 
to the window of Venetia' s apartment, which she would not 
quit. 

' Pauncefort,' said Lady Annabel, ' Venetia has been in 
her father's room.' 

' Oh ! impossible, my lady,' burst forth Mistress Paunce- 
fort ; but Lady Annabel placed her finger on her lip, and 
checked her. ' There is no doubt of it, there can be no 
doubt of it, Pauncefort ; she entered it yesterday ; she must 



VENETIA. 139 

have passed the morning there, when you believed she was 
in the park.' 

' But, my lady,' said Pauncefort, ' how could it be ? For 
I scarcely left your la'ship's room a second, and Miss Ve- 
netia, I am sure, never was near it. And the key, my lady, 
the key is in the casket. I saw it half an hour ago with 
my own eyes.' 

' There is no use arguing about it, Pauncefort,' said Lady 
Annabel, with decision. ' It is as I say. I fear great mis- 
fortunes are about to commence at Cherbury.' 

' Oh ! my lady, don't think of such things,' said Paunce- 
fort, herself not a little alarmed. ' What can happen ? ' 

' I fear more than I know,' said Lady Annabel ; ' but I 
do fear much. At present I can only think of her.' 

'Well ! my lady,' said poor Mistress Pauncefort, looking 
bewildered, ' only to think of such a thing ! and after all 
the pains I have taken ' I am sure I have not opened 
my lips on the subject these fifteen years ; and the many 
questions I have been asked too ! I am sure there is not a 
servant in the house ' 

' Hush ! hush ! ' said Lady Annabel, ' I do not blame you, 
and therefore you need not defend yourself. Go, Paunce- 
fort, I must be alone.' Pauncefort withdrew, and Lady 
Annabel resumed her seat by her daughter's side. 

On the fourth day of her attack the medical attendants 
observed a favourable change in their patient, and were 
not, of course, slow in communicating this joyful intelli- 
gence to her mother. The crisis had occurred and was past : 
Venetia had at length sunk into slumber. How different 
was her countenance from the still yet settled features 
they had before watched with such anxiety ! She breathed 
lightly, the tension of the eyelids had disappeared, her 
mouth was slightly open. The physician and his colleague 
declared that immediate danger was past, and they coun- 
selled Lady Annabel to take repose. On condition that one 
of them should remain by the side of her daughter, the 
devoted yet miserable mother quitted, for the first time, 



140 VENETIA. 

her child's apartment. Paunceforfc followed her to her 
room. 

' Oh ! my lady,' said Pauncefort, ' I am so glad your 
la'ship is going to lie down a bit.' 

' I am not going to lie down, Pauncefort. Give me the 
key.' 

And Lady Annabel proceeded alone to the forbidden 
chamber, that chamber which, after what has occurred, we 
may now enter with her, and where, with so much labour, 
she had created a room exactly imitative of their bridal 
apartment at her husband's castle. With a slow but re- 
solved step she entered the apartment, and proceeding im- 
mediately to the table, took up the book ; it opened at the 
stanzas to Venetia. The pages had recently been bedewed 
with tears. Lady Annabel then looked at the bridal bed, 
and marked the missing rose in the garland : it was as she 
expected. She seated herself then in the chair opposite the 
portrait, on which she gazed with a glance rather stern than 
fond. 

' Mannion,' she exclaimed, ' for fifteen years, a solitary 
votary, I have mourned over, in this temple of baffled 
affections, the inevitable past. The daughter of our love 
lias found her way, perhaps by an irresistible destiny, to a 
spot sacred to my long- concealed sorrows. At length she 
knows her father. May she never know more ! May she 
never learn that the being, whose pictured form has com- 
manded her adoration, is unworthy of those glorious gifts 
that a gracious Creator has bestowed upon him ! Marmion, 
you seem to smile upon me ; you seem to exult in your 
triumph over the heart of your child. But there is a power 
in a mother's love that yet shall baffle you. Hitherto I have 
come here to deplore the past ; hitherto I have come here 
to dwell upon the form that, in spite of all that has hap- 
pened, I still was, perhaps, weak enough to love. Those 
feelings are past for ever. Yes ! you would rob me of my 
child, you would tear from my heart the only consolation you 
have left me. But Venetia shall still be mine ; and I, I am 



VENETIA. 141 

no longer yours. Our love, our still lingering love, has 
vanished. You have been my enemy, now I am yours. I 
gaze upon your portrait for the last time ; and thus I pre- 
vent the magical fascination of that face again appealing to 
the sympathies of my child. Thus and thus ! ' She seized 
the ancient dagger that we have mentioned as lying on the 
volume, and, springing on the chair, she plunged it into 
the canvas; then, tearing with unflinching resolution the 
severed parts, she scattered the fragments over the chamber, 
shook into a thousand leaves the melancholy garland, tore 
up the volume of his enamoured Muse, and then quitting 
the chamber, and locking and double locking the door, she 
descended the staircase, and proceeding to the great well of 
Cherbury, hurled into it the fatal key. 

' Oh ! my lady,' said Mistress Pauncefort, as she met 
Lady Annabel returning in the vestibule, ' Doctor Masham 
is here.' 

' Is he ? ' said Lady Annabel, as calm as usual. ' I will 
see him before I lie down. Do not go into Venetia's room. 
She sleeps, and Mr. Hawkins has promised me to let me 
know when she wakes.' 



CHAPTER VIII. 

As Lady Annabel entered the terrace-room, Doctor Ma- 
sham came forward and grasped her hand. 

' You have heard of our sorrow ! ' said her ladyship in a 
faint voice. 

' But this instant,' replied the Doctor, in a tone of great 
anxiety. ' Immediate danger 

' Is past. She sleeps,' replied Lady Annabel. 

' A most sudden and unaccountable attack,' said the 
Doctor. 

It is difficult to describe the contending emotions of the 
mother as her companion made this observation. At length 
she replied, ' Sudden, certainly sudden ; but not unaccount- 



142 VENETIA. 

able. Oh ! my friend,' she added, after a moment's pause, 
' they will not be content until they have torn my daughter 
from me.' 

' They tear your daughter from you ! ' exclaimed Doctor 
Masham. 'Who?' 

' He, he,' muttered Lady Annabel ; her speech was inco- 
herent, her manner very disturbed. 

'My dear lady,' said the Doctor, gazing on her with 
extreme anxiety, 'you are yourself unwell.' 

Lady Annabel heaved a deep sigh ; the Doctor bore her 
to a seat. ' Shall I send for any one, anything ? ' 

'No one, no one,' quickly answered Lady Annabel. 
* With you, at least, there is no concealment necessary.' 

She leant back in her chair, the Doctor holding her hand, 
and standing by her side. 

Still Lady Annabel continued sighing deeply : at length 
she looked up and said, ' Does she love me ? Do you 
think, after all, she loves me ? ' 

' Venetia?' inquired the Doctor, in a low and doubtful 
voice, for he was greatly perplexed. 

' She has seen him ; she loves him ; she has forgotten 
her mother.' 

' My dear lady, you require rest,' said Doctor Masham. 
' You are overcome with strange fancies. Whom has your 
daughter seen ? ' 

' Marmion.' 

' Impossible ! you forget he is 

' Here also. He has spoken to her : she loves him : she 
will recover : she will fly to him ; sooner let us both die ! ' 

' Dear lady ! ' 

* She knows everything. Fate has baffled me ; we can- 
not struggle with fate. She is his child ; she is like him ; 
she is not like her mother. Oh ! she hates me ; I know 
she hates me.' 

' Hush ! hush ! hush ! ' said the Doctor, himself very 
agitated. ' Venetia loves you, only you. Why should she 
love any one else ? ' 



VENETIA. 143 

' Who can help it ? I loved him. I saw him. I loved 
him. His voice was music. He has spoken to her, and 
she yielded : she yielded in a moment. I stood by her 
bedside. She would not speak to me ; she would not know 
me ; she shrank from me. Her heart is with her father : 
only with him.' 

' Where did she see him ? How ? ' 

' His room : his picture. She knows all. I was away 
with you, and she entered his chamber.' 

'Ah!' 

' Oh ! Doctor, you have influence with her. Speak to 
her. Make her love me ! Tell her she has no father ; tell 
her he is dead.' 

' We will do that which is well and wise,' replied Doctor 
Masham : ' at present let us be calm ; if you give way, her 
life may be the forfeit. Now is the moment for a mother's 
love.' 

'You are right. I should not have left her for an 
instant. I would' not have her wake and find her mother 
not watching over her. But I was tempted. She slept ; I 
left her for a moment ; I went to destroy the spell. She 
cannot see him again. No one shall see him again. It was 
my weakness, the weakness of long years ; and now I am 
its victim.' 

' Nay, nay, my sweet lady, all will be quite well. Be but 
calm ; Venetia will recover.' 

' But will she love me ? Oh ! no, no, no ! She will think 
only of him. She will not love her mother. She will yearn 
for her father now. She has seen him, and she will not 
rest until she is ill his arms. She will desert me, I know it.' 

' And I know the contrary,' said the Doctor, attempting 
to reassure her ; ' I will answer for Venetia' s devotion to 
you. Indeed she has no thought but your happiness, and 
can love only you. When there is a fitting time, I will 
speak to her ; but now, now is the time for repose. And 
you must rest, you must indeed.' 

' Best ! I cannot. I slumbered in the chair last night 



144 VENETIA. 

by her bedside, and a voice roused/me. It was her own. 
She was speaking to her father. She told him how she 
loved him ; how long, how much she thought of him ; that 
she would join him when she was well, for she knew he 
was not dead ; and, if he were dead, she would die also. 
She never mentioned me.' 

' Nay ! the light meaning of a delirious brain.' 

' Truth, truth, bitter, inevitable truth. Oh ! Doctor, I 
could beai all but this ; but my child, my beautiful fond 
child, that made up for all my sorrows. My joy, my hope, 
my life ! I knew it would be so ; I knew he would have 
her heart. He said she never could be alienated from him ; 
he said she never could be taught to hate him. I did not 
teach her to hate him. I said nothing. I deemed, fond, 
foolish mother, that the devotion of my life might bind her 
to me. But what is a mother's love ? I cannot contend 
with him. He gained the mother ; he will gain the 
daughter too.' 

' God will guard over you,' said Masham, with streaming 
eyes ; ' God will not desert a pious and virtuous woman.' 

' I must go,' said Lady Annabel, attempting to rise, but 
the Doctor gently controlled her ; ' perhaps she is awake, 
and I am not at her side. She will not ask for me, she 
will ask for him ; but I will be there ; she will desert me, 
but she shall not say I ever deserted her.' 

' She will never desert you,' said the Doctor; 'my life on 
her pure heart. She has- been a child of unbroken love 
and duty; still she will remain so. Her mind is for a 
moment overpowered by a marvellous discovery. She will 
recover, and be to you as she was before.' 

' We'll tell her he is dead,' said Lady Annabel, eagerly. 
' You must tell her. She will believe you. I cannot speak 
to her of him ; no, not to secure her heart ; never, never, 
never can I speak to Venetia of her father.' 

' I will speak,' replied the Doctor, ' at the just time. 
Now let us think of her recovery. She is no longer in 
danger. We should be grateful, we should be glad.' 



VENETIA, 145 

' Let us pray to God ! Let us humble ourselves,' said 
Lady Annabel. ' Let us beseech him not to desert this 
house. We have been faithful to him, we have struggled 
to be faithful to him. Let us supplicate him to favour and 
support us ! ' 

' He will favour and support you,' said the Doctor, in a 
solemn tone. ' He has upheld you in many trials ; he will 
uphold you still.' 

' Ah ! why did I love him ! Why did I continue to love 
him ! How weak, how foolish, how mad I have been ! I 
have alone been the cause of all this misery. Yes, I have 
destroyed my child.' 

' She lives, she will live. Nay, nay ! you must reassure 
yourself. Come, let me send for your servant, and for a 
moment repose. Nay ! take my arm. A.11 depends upon 
you. We have great cares now ; let us not conjure up 
fantastic fears.' 

' I must go to my daughter's room. Perhaps by her side 
I might rest. Nowhere else. You will attend me to the 
door, my friend. Yes ! it is something in this life to have 
a friend.' 

Lady Annabel took the arm of the good Masham. They 
stopped at her daughter's door. 

' Rest here a moment,' she said, as she entered the room 
without a sound. In a moment she returned. ' She still 
sleeps,' said the mother ; ' I shall remain with her, and 
you ? ' 

' I will not leave you,' said the Doctor, ' but think not of 
me. Nay ! I will not leave you. I will remain under this 
roof. I have shared its serenity and joy ; let me not avoid 
it in this time of trouble and tribulation.' 



CHAPTER IX. 

VENETIA still slept : her mother alone in the chamber 
watched by her side. Some hours had elapsed since her 

L 



146 VENETIA. 

interview with Dr. Masham ; the medical attendant had 
departed for a few hours. 

Suddenly Venetia moved, opened her eyes, and said in a 
faint voice, ' Mamma ! ' 

The blood rushed to Lady Annabel's heart. That single 
word afforded her the most exquisite happiness. 

' I am here, dearest,' she replied. 

' Mamma, what is all this ? ' inquired Venetia. 

'You have not been well, my own, but now you are 
much better.' 

* I thought I had been dreaming,' replied Venetia, ' and 
that all was not right ; somebody, I thought, struck me on 
my head. But all is right now, because you are here, my 
dear mamma.' 

But Lady Annabel could not speak for weeping. 

'Are you sure, mamma, that nothing has been done to 
my head ? ' continued Venetia. ' Why, what is this ? ' and 
she touched a light bandage on her brow. 

' My darling, you have been ill, and you have lost blood ; 
but now you are getting quite well. I have been very un- 
happy about you ; but now I am quite happy, my sweet, 
sweet child.' 

' How long have I been ill ? ' 

' You have been very ill indeed for four or five days ; 
you have had a fever, Venetia ; but now the fever is gone, 
and you are only a little weak, and you will soon be well.' 

' A fever ! and how did I get the fever ? ' 

' Perhaps you caught cold, my child ; but we must not 
talk too much.' 

' A fever ! I never had a fever before. A fever is like a 
dream.' 

' Hush ! sweet love. Indeed you must not speak.' 

' Give me your hand, mamma ; I will not speak if you 
will let me hold your hand. I thought in the fever that 
we were parted.' 

' I have never left your side, my child, day or night,' said 
Lady Annabel, not without agitation. 



VENETIA. 147 

' All this time ! all these days and nights ! No one would 
do that but you, mamma. You think only of me.' 

' Tou repay me by your love, Yenetia,' said Lady Anna- 
bel, feeling that her daughter ought not to speak, yet irre- 
sistibly impelled to lead out her thoughts. 

' How can I help loving you, my dear mamma ? ' 

' You do love me, you do love me very much ; do you 
not, sweet child ? ' 

' Better than all the world,' replied Venetia to her en- 
raptured parent. ' And yet, in the fever I seemed to love 
some one else : but fevers are like dreams ; they are not 
true.' 

Lady Annabel pressed her lips gently to her daughter's, 
and whispered her that she must speak no more. 

When Mr. Hawkins returned, he gave a favourable report 
of Venetia. He said that all danger was now past, and 
that all that was required for her recovery were time, care, 
and repose. He repeated to Lady Annabel alone that the 
attack was solely to be ascribed to some great mental 
shock which her daughter had received, and which sud- 
denly had affected her circulation ; leaving it, after this 
formal intimation, entirely to the mother to take those steps 
in reference to the cause, whatever it might be, which she 
should deem expedient. 

In the evening, Lady Annabel stole down for a few 
moments to Dr. Masham, laden with joyful intelligence ; 
assured of the safety of her child, and, what was still more 
precious, of her heart, and even voluntarily promising her 
friend that she should herself sleep this night in her 
daughter's chamber, on the sofa-bed. The Doctor, there- 
fore, now bade her adieu, and said that he should ride over 
from Marringhurst every day, to hear how their patient 
was proceeding. 

From this time, the recovery of Venetia, though slow, 
was gradual. She experienced no relapse, and in a few 
weeks quitted her bed. She was rather surprised at her 
altered appearance when it first met her glance in the 

L 2 



148 VENETIA. 

mirror, but scarcely made any observation on the loss 
of her locks. During this interval, the mind of Yenetia 
had been quite dormant ; the rage of the fever, and the 
violent remedies to which it had been necessary to have 
recourse, had so exhausted her, that she had not energy 
enough to think. All that she felt was a strange indefinite 
conviction that some occurrence had taken place with 
which her memory could not grapple. But as her strength 
returned, and as she gradually resumed her usual health, 
by proportionate though almost invisible degrees her me- 
mory returned to her, and her intelligence. She clearly 
recollected and comprehended what had taken place. She 
recalled the past, compared incidents, weighed circum- 
stances, sifted and balanced the impressions that now 
crowded upon her consciousness. It is difficult to describe 
each link in the metaphysical chain which at length con- 
nected the mind of Venetia Herbert with her actual ex- 
perience and precise situation. It was, however, at length 
perfect, and gradually formed as she sat in an invalid chair, 
apparently listless, not yet venturing on any occupation, or 
occasionally amused for a moment by her mother reading 
to her. But when her mind had thus resumed its natural 
tone, and in time its accustomed vigour, the past demanded 
all her solicitude. At length the mystery of her birth was 
revealed to her. She was the daughter of Marmion Her- 
bert ; and who was Marmion Herbert ? The portrait rose 
before her. How distinct was the form, how definite the 
countenance ! No common personage was Marmion Her- 
bert, even had he not won his wife, and celebrated his 
daughter in such witching strains. Genius was stamped 
on his lofty brow, and spoke in his brilliant eye ; nobility 
wns in all his form. This chivalric poet was her father. 
She had read, she had dreamed of such beings, she had 
never seen them. If she quitted the solitude in which she 
lived, would she see men like her father ? No other could 
ever satisfy her imagination ; all beneath that standard 
would rank but as imperfect creations in her fancy. And 



VENETIA. 149 

this father, he was dead. No doubt. Ah ! was there indeed, 
no doubt ? Eager as was her curiosity on this all- 
absorbing subject, Yenetia could never summon courage 
to speak upon it to her mother. Her first disobedience, or 
rather her first deception of her mother, in reference to 
this very subject, had brought, and brought so swiftly 
on its retributive wings, such disastrous consequences, 
that any allusion to Lady Annabel was restrained by a 
species of superstitious fear, against which Venetia could 
not contend. Then her father was either dead or living. 
That was certain. If dead, it was clear that his me- 
mory, however cherished by his relict, was associated 
with feelings too keen to admit of any other but so- 
litary indulgence. If living, there was a mystery con- 
nected with her parents, a mystery evidently of a painful 
character, and one which it was a prime object with her 
mother to conceal and to suppress. Could Venetia, then, 
in defiance of that mother, that fond devoted mother, that 
mother who had watched through long days and long 
nights over her sick bed, and who now, withov-t a murmur, 
was a prisoner to this very room, only to comfort and con- 
sole her child : could Venetia take any step which might 
occasion this matchless parent even a transient pang ? No ; 
it was impossible. To her mother she could never speak. 
And yet, to remain enveloped in the present mystery, she 
was sensible, was equally insufferable. All she asked, all 
she wanted to know, was he alive ? If he were alive, then, 
although she could not see him, though she might never 
see him, she could exist upon his idea ; she could conjure 
up romances of future existence with him ; she could live 
upon the fond hope of some day calling him father, and 
receiving from his hands the fervid blessing he had already 
breathed to her in song. 

In the meantime her remaining parent commanded all 
her affections. Even if he were no more, blessed was her 
lot with such a mother ! Lady Annabel seemed only to 
exist to attend upon her daughter. No lover ever watched 



150 VENETIA. 

with such devotion the wants or even the caprices of his 
mistress. A thousand times every day Venetia found her- 
self expressing her fondness and her gratitude. It seemed 
that the late dreadful contingency of losing her daughter 
had developed in Lady Annabel's heart even additional 
powers of maternal devotion ; and Venetia, the fond and 
grateful Venetia, ignorant of the strange past, which she 
believed she so perfectly comprehended, returned thanks 
to Heaven that her mother was at least spared the mortifi- 
cation of knowing that her daughter, in her absence, had 
surreptitiously invaded the sanctuary of her secret sorrow. 



CHAPTER X. 

WHEN Venetia had so far recovered that, leaning on her 
mother's arm, she could resume her walks upon the terrace, 
Doctor Masham persuaded his friends, as a slight and not 
unpleasant change of scene, to pay him a visit at Marring- 
hurst. Since the chamber scene, indeed, Lady Annabel's 
tie to Cherbury was much weakened. There were certain 
feelings of pain, and fear, and mortification, now associated 
with that place which she could not bear to dwell upon, 
and which greatly balanced those sentiments of refuge and 
repose, of peace and love, with which the old hall, in her 
mind, was heretofore connected. Venetia ever adopted the 
slightest intimations of a wish on the part of her mother, 
and so she readily agreed to fall into the arrangement. 

It was rather a long and rough journey to Marring- 
hurst, for they were obliged to use the old chariot ; but 
Venetia forgot her fatigues in the cordial welcome of their 
host, whose sparkling countenance well expressed the ex- 
treme gratification their arrival occasioned him. All that 
the tenderest solicitude could devise for the agreeable 
accommodation of the invalid had been zealously concerted; 
and the constant influence of Dr. Masham's cheerful mind 



VENETIA. 151 

was as beneficial to Lady Annabel as to her daughter. The 
season was gay, the place was pleasant ; and although they 
were only a few miles from home, in a house with which 
they were familiar, and their companion one whom they 
had known intimately all their lives, and of late almost 
daily seen ; yet such is the magic of a change in our habits, 
however slight, and of the usual theatre of their custom, 
that this visit to Marringhurst assumed quite the air of an 
adventure, and seemed at first almost invested with the 
charm and novelty of travel. 

The surrounding country, which, though verdant, was 
flat, was well adapted to the limited exertions and still 
feeble footsteps of an invalid, and Venetia began to study 
botany with the Doctor, who indeed was not very profound 
in his attainments in this respect, but knew quite enough 
to amuse his scholar. By degrees also, as her strength 
daily increased, they extended their walks ; and at length 
she even mounted her pony, and was fast recovering her 
elasticity both of body and mind. There were also many 
pleasant books with which she was unacquainted; a cabinet 
of classic coins, prints, and pictures. She became, too, 
interested in the Doctor's rural pursuits ; would watch him 
with his angle, and already meditated a revolution in his 
garden. So time, on the whole, flew cheerfully on, cer- 
tainly without any weariness ; and the day seldom passed 
that they did not all congratulate themselves on the pleasant 
and profitable change. 

In the meantime Venetia, when alone, still recurred to 
that idea that was now so firmly rooted in her mind, that 
it was quite out of the power of any social discipline to 
divert her attention from it. She was often the sole com- 
panion of the Doctor, and she had long resolved to seize a 
favourable opportunity to appeal to him on the subject of 
her father. It so happened that she was walking alone 
with him one morning in the neighbourhood of Marring- 
hurst, having gone to visit the remains of a Roman encamp- 
ment in the immediate vicinity. When they had arrived 



152 VENETIA. 

at the spot, and the Doctor had delivered his usual lecture 
c n the locality, they sat down together on a mound, that 
Venetia might rest herself. 

' Were you ever in Italy, Doctor Masham ? ' said Venetia. 

' I never was out of my native country,' said the Doctor. 
' I once, indeed, was about making the grand tour with a 
pupil of mine at Oxford, but circumstances interfered 
which changed his plans, and so I remain a regular John 
Bull.' 

' Was my father at Oxford ? ' said Venetia, quietly. 

' He was,' replied the Doctor, looking confused. 

' I should like to see Oxford much,' said Venetia. 

'It is a most interesting seat of learning,' said the 
Doctor, quite delighted to change the subject. ' Whether 
we consider its antiquity, its learning, the influence it has 
exercised upon the history of the country, its magnificent 
endowments, its splendid buildings, its great colleges, 
libraries, and museums, or that it is one of the principal 
head-quarters of all the hope of England, our youth, it is 
not too much to affirm that there is scarcely a spot on the 
face of the globe of equal interest and importance.' 

'It is not for its colleges, or libraries, or museums, or 
all its splendid buildings,' observed Venetia, ' that I should 
wish to see it. I wish to see it because my father was 
once there. I should like to see a place where I was quite 
certain my father had been.' 

' Still harping of her father,' thought the Doctor to him- 
self, and growing uneasy ; yet, from his very anxiety to turn 
the subject, quite incapable of saying an appropriate word. 
' Do you remember my father at Oxford, Doctor Masham ? ' 
said Venetia. 

' Yes ! no, yes ! ' said the Doctor, rather colouring ; ' that 
is, he must have been there in my time, I rather think.' 

' But you do not recollect him ? ' said Venetia, pressing 
the question. 

'Why,' rejoined the Doctor, a little more collected, 
' when you remember that there are between two and 



VENETIA. 153 

throe thousand young men at the university, you must not 
consider it very surprising that I might not recollect your 
father.' 

' No,' said Venetia, ' perhaps not : and yet I cannot help 
thinking that he must always have been a person who, if 
once seen, would not easily have been forgotten.' 

' Here is an Erica vagans,' said the Doctor, picking a 
flower ; ' it is rather uncommon about here ; ' and handing 
it at the same time to Venetia. 

' My father must have been very young when he died ? ' 
said Venetia, scarcely looking at the flower. 
' Yes, your father was very young,' he replied. 
' Where did he die ? ' 
' I cannot answer that question.' 
' Where was he buried ? ' 

' You know, my dear young lady, that the subject is too 
tender for any one to converse with your poor mother upon 
it. It is not in my power to give you the information you 
desire. Be satisfied, my dear Miss Herbert, that a gracious 
Providence has spared to you one parent, and one so in- 
estimable.' 

' I trust I know how to appreciate so great a blessing,' 
replied Venetia ; ' but I should be sorry if the natural 
interest which all children must take in those who have 
given them birth, should be looked upon as idle and un- 
justifiable curiosity.' 

' My dear young lady, you misapprehend me.' 
'No, Doctor Masham, indeed I do not,' replied Venetia, 
with firmness. ' I can easily conceive that the mention of 
my father may for various reasons be insupportable to my 
mother ; it is enough for me that I am convinced such is 
the case : my lips are sealed to her for ever upon the sub- 
ject ; but I cannot recognise the necessity of this constraint 
to others. For a long time I was kept in ignorance 
whether I had a father or not. I have discovered, no 
matter how, who he was. I believe, pardon me, my dearest 
friend, I cannot help believing, that you were acquainted, 



154 VENETIA. 

or, at least, that you know something of him ; and I 
entreat you ! yes,' repeated Venetia with great emphasis, 
laying her hand upon his arm, and looking with earnestness 
in his face, ' I entreat you, by all your kind feelings to my 
mother and myself, by all that friendship we so prize, by 
the urgent solicitation of a daughter who is influenced in 
her curiosity by no light or unworthy feeling ; yes ! by all 
the claims of a child to information which ought not to be 
withheld from her, tell me, tell me all, tell me something ! 
Speak, Dr. Masham, do speak ! ' 

' My dear young lady,' said the Doctor, with a glisten- 
ing eye, ' it is better that we should both be silent.' 

'No, indeed,' replied Venetia, 'it is not better ; it is not 
well that we should be silent. Candour is a great virtue. 
There is a charm, a healthy charm, in frankness. Why 
this mystery ? Why these secrets ? Have they worked 
good ? Have they benefited us ? ! my friend, I would 
not say so to my mother, I would not be tempted by any 
sufferings to pain for an instant her pure and affectionate 
heart ; but indeed, Doctor Masham, indeed, indeed, what I 
tell you is true, all my late illness, my present state, all, all 
are attributable but to one cause, this mystery about my 
father ! ' 

' What can I tell you ? ' said the unhappy Masham. 

' Tell me only one fact. I ask no more. Yes ! I promise 
you, solemnly I promise you, I will ask no more. Tell me, 
does he live ? ' 

' He does ! ' said the Doctor. Venetia sank upon his 
shoulder. 

' My dear young lady, my darling young lady ! ' said the 
Doctor ; ' she has fainted. What can I do ? ' The unfor- 
tunate Doctor placed Venetia in a reclining posture, and 
hurried to a brook that was nigh, and brought water in his 
hand to sprinkle on her. She revived ; she made a struggle 
to restore herself. 

'It is nothing,' she said, 'lam resolved to be well. I 
am well. I am myself again. He lives ; my father lives ! 



VENETIA. 155 

I was confident of it ! I will ask no more. I am true to 
my word. O ! Doctor Masham, you nave always been my 
kind friend, but you have never yet conferred on me a 
favour like the one you have just bestowed.' 

' But it is well,' said the Doctor, ' as you know so much, 
that you should know more.' 

' Yes ! yes ! ' 

' As we walk along,' he continued, ' we will converse, OP 
at another time ; there is no lack of opportunity.' 

' No, now, now ! ' eagerly exclaimed Venetia, ' I am quite 
well. It was not pain or illness that overcame me. Now 
let us walk, now let us talk of these things. He lives ? ' 

' I have little to add,' said Dr. Masham, after a moment's 
thought ; ' but this, however painful, it is necessary for 
you to know, that your father is unworthy of your mother, 
utterly ; they are separated ; they never can be reunited.' 

' Never ? ' said Venetia. 

' Never,' replied Dr. Masham ; ' and I now warn you ; if, 
indeed, as I cannot doubt, you love your mother ; if her 
peace of mind and happiness are, as I hesitate not to believe, 
the principal objects of your life, upon this subject with 
her be for ever silent. Seek to penetrate no mysteries, 
spare all allusions, banish, if possible, the idea of your father 
from your memory. Enough, you know he lives. We 
know no more. Tour mother labours to forget him ; her 
only consolation for sorrows such as few women ever expe- 
rienced, is her child, yourself, your love. Now be no 
niggard with it. Cling to this unrivalled parent, who has 
dedicated her life to you. Soothe her sufferings, endeavour 
to make her share your happiness ; but, of this be certain, 
that if you raise up the name and memory of your father 
between your mother and yourself, her life will be the 
forfeit ! ' 

'His name shall never pass my lips,' said Venetia; 
' solemnly I vow it. That his image shall be banished from 
my heart is too much to ask, and more than it is in my 
power to grant. But I am my mother's child. I will exist 



156 VENETIA. 

only for her ; and if my love can console her, she shall 
never be without solace. I thank you, Doctor, for all your 
kindness. We will never talk again upon the subject ; yet, 
believe me, you have acted wisely, you have done good.' 



CHAPTER XL 

VENETJA observed her promise to Doctor Masham with 
strictness. She never alluded to her father, and his name 
never escaped her mother's lips. Whether Doctor Masham 
apprised Lady Annabel of the conversation that had taken 
place between himself and her daughter, it is not in our 
power to mention. The visit to Marringhurst was not a 
short one. It was a relief both to Lady Annabel and 
Venetia, after all that had occurred, to enjoy the constant 
society of their friend ; and this change of life, though appa- 
rently so slight, proved highly beneficial to Venetia. She 
daily recovered her health, and a degree of mental com- 
posure which she had not for some time enjoyed. On the 
whole she was greatly satisfied with the discoveries which 
she had made. She had ascertained the name and the ex- 
istence of her father : his very form and appearance were 
now no longer matter for conjecture ; and in a degree she 
had even communicated with him. Time, she still believed, 
would develope even further wonders. She clung to an 
irresistible conviction that she should yet see him ; that he 
might even again be united to her mother. She indulged 
in dreams as to his present pursuits and position ; she re- 
peated to herself his verses, and remembered his genius 
with pride and consolation. 

They returned to Cherbury, they resumed the accustomed 
tenour of their lives, as if nothing had occurred to disturb 
it. The fondness between the mother and her daughter 
was unbroken and tmdimiuished. They shared again the 
same studies and the same amusements. Lady Annabel 
perhaps indulged the conviction that Venetia had imbibed 
the belief that her father was no more, and yet in truth that 



VENETIA. 157 

father was the sole idea on which her child ever brooded. 
Venetia had her secret now ; and often as she looked up at 
the windows of the uninhabited portion of the building, she 
remembered with concealed, but not less keen exultation, 
that she had penetrated their mystery. She could muse for 
hours over all that chamber had revealed to her, and in- 
dulge in a thousand visions, of which her father was the 
centre. She was his 'own Venetia.' Thus he had hailed 
her at her birth, and thus he might yet again acknowledge 
her. If she could only ascertain where he existed ! What 
if she could, and she were to communicate with him ? He 
must love her. Her heart assured her he must love her. 
She could not believe, if they were to meet, that his breast 
could resist the silent appeal which the sight merely of his 
only child would suffice to make. Oh ! why had her parents 
parted? What could have been his fault? He was so 
young ! But a few, few years older than herself, when her 
mother must have seen him for the last time. Yes ! for the 
last time beheld that beautiful form, and that countenance 
that seemed breathing only with genius and love. He 
might have been imprudent, rash, violent ; but she would 
not credit for an instant that a stain could attach to the 
honour or the spirit of Marmion Herbert. 

The summer wore away. One morning, as Lady Annabel 
and Venetia were sitting together, Mistress Pauncefort 
bustled into the room with a countenance radiant with 
smiles and wonderment. Her ostensible business was to 
place upon the table a vase of flowers, but it Avas evident 
that her presence was occasioned by affairs of far greater 
urgency. The vase was safely deposited ; Mistress Paunce- 
fort gave the last touch to the arrangement of the flowers ; 
she lingered about Lady Annabel, At length she said, ' I 
suppose you have heard the news, my lady?' 

'Indeed, Pauncefort, I have not,' replied Lady Annabel. 
'What news?' 

' My lord is coming to the abbey.' 

' Indeed ! ' 

' Oh ! yes, my lady,' said Mistress Pauncefort ; ' I am 



158 VENETIA. 

not at all surprised your ladyship should be so astonished. 
Never to write, too ! Well, I must say he might have given 
us a line. But he is coming, I am certain sure of that, my 
lady. My lord's gentleman has been down these two days ; 
and all his dogs and guns too, my lady. And the keeper is 
ordered to be quite ready, my lady, for the first. I wonder 
if there is going to be a party. I should not be at all 
surprised.' 

' Plantagenet returned ! ' said Lady Annabel. ' Well, I 
shall be very glad to see him again.' 

' So shall I, my lady,' said Mistress Pauncefort ; ' but I 
dare say we shall hardly know him again, he must be so 
grown. Trimmer has been over to the abbey, my lady, and 
saw my lord's valet. Quite the fine gentleman, Trimmer 
says. I was thinking of walking over myself this after- 
noon, to see poor Mrs. Quin, my lady ; I dare say we might 
be of use, and neighbours should be handy, as they say. 
She is a very respectable woman, poor Mrs. Quin, and I 
am sure for my part, if your ladyship has no objection, I 
should be very glad to be of service to her.' 

' I have of course no objection, Pauncefort, to your being 
of service to the housekeeper, but has she required your 
assistance ? ' 

' Why no, my lady, but poor Mrs. Quin would hardly like 
to ask for anything, my lady ; but I am sure we might be 
of very great use, for my lord's gentleman seems very dis- 
satisfied at his reception, Trimmer says. He has his hot 
breakfast every morning, my lady, and poor Mrs. Quin 
says ' 

' Well, Pauncefort, that will do,' said Lady Annabel, and 
the functionary disappeared. 

' We have almost forgotten Plantagenet, Venetia,' added 
Lady Annabel, addressing herself to her daughter. 

' He has forgotten us, I think, mamma,' said Venetia. 



END OF BOOK II. 



VENETIA. 159 



BOOK III. 



CHAPTER I. 

FIVE years had elapsed since Lord Cadurcis had quitted the 
seat of his fathers, nor did the fair inhabitants of Cherbury 
hear of his return without emotion. Although the inter- 
course between them during this interval had from the first 
been too slightly maintained, and of late years had entirely 
died off, his return was, nevertheless, an event which re- 
called old times and revived old associations. His visit to 
the hall was looked forward to with interest. He did not 
long keep his former friends in suspense ; for although he 
was not uninfluenced by some degree of embarrassment 
from the consciousness of neglect on his side, rendered 
more keen now that he again found himself in the scene 
endeared by the remembrance of their kindness, he was, 
nevertheless, both too well bred and too warm-hearted to 
procrastinate the performance of a duty which the regula- 
tions of society and natural impulse alike assured him was 
indispensable. On the very morning, therefore, after his 
arrival, having sauntered awhile over the old abbey and 
strolled over the park, mused over his mother's tomb with 
emotion, not the less deep because there was no outward 
and visible sign of its influence, he ordered his horses, and 
directed his way through the accustomed woods to Cherbury. 
Five years had not passed away without their effects at 
least upon the exterior being of Cadurcis. Although still a 
youth, his appearance was manly. A thoughtful air had 
become habitual to a countenance melancholy even in his 
childhood. Nor was its early promise of beauty unfulfilled ; 
although its expression was peculiar, and less pleasing than 



160 VENETIA. 

impressive. His long dark locks shaded a pale and lofty 
brow that well became a cast of features delicately moulded, 
yet reserved and haughty, and perhaps even somewhat 
scornful. His figure had set into a form of remarkable 
slightness and elegance, and distinguished for its sym- 
metry. Altogether his general mien was calculated to 
attract attention and to excite interest. 

His, vacations while at Eton had been spent by Lord 
Cadurcis in the family of his noble guardian, one of the 
king's ministers. Here he had been gradually initiated in 
the habits and manners of luxurious and refined society. 
Since he had quitted Eton he had passed a season, previous 
to his impending residence at Cambridge, in the same 
sphere. The opportunities thus offered had not been lost 
upon a disposition which, with all its native reserve, was 
singularly susceptible. Cadurcis had quickly imbibed the 
tone and adopted the usages of the circle in which he moved. 
Naturally impatient of control, he endeavoured by his 
precocious manhood to secure the respect and indepen- 
dence which would scarcely have been paid or permitted 
to his years. From an early period he never permitted 
himself to be treated as a boy ; and his guardian, a man 
whose whole soul was concentred in the world, humoured a 
bent which he approved and from which he augured the 
most complete success. Attracted by the promising talents 
and the premature character of his ward, he had spared 
more time to assist the development of his mind and the 
formation of his manners than, might have been expected 
from a minister of state. His hopes, indeed, rested with 
confidence on his youthful relative, and he looked forward 
with no common emotion to the moment when he should 
have the honour of introducing to public life one calculated 
to confer so much credit on his tutor, and shed so much 
lustre on his party. The reader will, therefore, not be 
surprised if at this then unrivalled period of political ex- 
citement, when the existence of our colonial empire was at 
stake, Cadurcis, with his impetuous feelings, had imbibed 



VENETIA. 161 

to their fullest extent all the plans, prejudices, and passions 
of his political connections. He was, indeed, what the cir- 
cumstances of the times and his extreme youth might well 
excuse, if not justify, a most violent partisan. Bold, san- 
guine, resolute, and intolerant, it was difficult to persuade 
him that any opinions could be just which were opposed to 
those of the circle in which he lived ; and out of that pale, 
it must be owned, he was as little inclined to recognise the 
existence of ability as of truth. 

As Lord Cadurcis slowly directed his way through the 
woods and park of Cherbury, past years recurred to him 
like a faint yet pleasing dream. Among these meads and 
bowers had glided away the only happy years of his boy- 
hood, the only period of his early life to which he could 
look back without disgust. He recalled the secret exultation 
with which, in company with his poor mother, he had first 
repaired to Cadurcis, about to take possession of what, to 
his inexperienced imagination, then appeared a vast and 
noble inheritance, and for the first time in his life to occupy 
a position not unworthy of his rank. For how many do- 
mestic mortifications did the first sight of that old abbey 
compensate ! How often, in pacing its venerable galleries 
and solemn cloisters, and musing over the memory of an 
ancient and illustrious ancestry, had he forgotten those 
bitter passages of daily existence, so humbling to his vanity 
and so harassing to his heart ! He had beheld that morn, 
after an interval of many years, the tomb of his mother. 
That simple and solitary monument had revived and im- 
pressed upon him a conviction that too easily escaped in 
the various life and busy scenes in which he had since 
moved, the conviction of his worldly desolation and utter 
loneliness. He had no parents, no relations ; now that he 
was for a moment free from the artificial life in which he 
had of late mingled, he felt that he had no friends. The 
image of his mother came back to him, softened by tho 
magical tint of years ; after all she was his mother, and 
a deep sharer in all his joys and woes. Transported to the 

M 



162 VENETIA. 

old haunts of his innocent and warm-hearted childhood, he 
sighed for a finer and a sweeter sympathy than was ever 
yielded by the roof which he had lately quitted ; a habita- 
tion, but not a home. He conjured up the picture of his 
guardian, existing in a whirl of official bustle and social 
excitement. A dreamy reminiscence of finer impulses stole 
over the heart of Cadurcis. The dazzling pageant of metro- 
politan splendour faded away before the bright scene of 
nature that surrounded him. He felt the freshness of the 
fragrant breeze ; he gazed with admiration on the still and 
ancient woods, and his pure and lively blood bubbled 
beneath the influence of the golden sunbeams. Before him 
rose the halls of Cherbury, that roof where he had been so 
happy, that roof to which he had appeared so ungrateful. 
The memory of a thousand acts of kindness, of a thousand 
soft and soothing traits of affection, recurred to him with a 
freshness which startled as much as it pleased him. Not 
to hirn only, but to his mother, that mother whose loss he 
had lived to deplore, had the inmates of Cherbury been 
ministering angels of peace and joy. Oh ! that indeed had 
been a home ; there indeed had been days of happiness ; 
there indeed he had found sympathy, and solace, and suc- 
cour ! And now he was returning to them a stranger, 
to fulfil one of the formal duties of society in paying them 
his cold respects ; an attention which he could scarcely 
have avoided offering had he been to them the merest 
acquaintance, instead of having found within those walls 
a home not merely in words, but friendship the most deli- 
cate and love the most pure, a second parent, and the only 
being whom he had ever styled sister ! 

The sight of Cadurcis became dim with emotion as the 
associations of old scenes and his impending interview with 
Venetia brought back the past with a power which he had 
rarely experienced in the playing-fields of Eton, or the 
saloons of London. Five years ! It was an awful chasm in 
their acquaintance. 

He despaired of reviving the kindness which had been 



VENETIA. 163 

broken by such a dreary interval, and broken on his side so 
wilfully; and yet he began to feel that unless met with 
that kindness he should be very miserable. Sooth to say, 
he was not a little embarrassed, and scarcely knew which 
contingency he most desired, to meet, or to escape from 
her. He almost repented his return to Cadurcis, and yet 
to see Yenetia again he felt must be exquisite pleasure. 
Influenced by these feelings he arrived at the hall steps, 
and so, dismounting and giving his horse to his groom, 
Cadurcis, with a palpitating heart and faltering hand, 
formally rang the bell of that hall which in old days he 
entered at all seasons without ceremony. 

Never perhaps did a man feel more nervous ; he grew 
pale, paler even than usual, and his whole frame trembled 
as the approaching footstep of the servant assured him the 
door was about to open. He longed now that the family 
might not be at home, that he might at least gain four- 
and-tvventy hours to prepare himself. But the family were 
at home and he was obliged to enter. He stopped for a 
moment in the hall under the pretence of examining the 
old familiar scene, but it was merely to collect himself, for 
his sight was clouded ; spoke to the old servant, to reassure 
himself by the sound of his own voice, but the husky words 
seemed to stick in his throat ; ascended the staircase with 
tottering steps, and leant against the banister as he heard 
his name announced. The effort, however, must be made ; 
it was too late to recede ; and Lord Cadurcis, entering the 
terrace-room, extended his hand to Lady Annabel Herbert. 
She was not in the least changed, but looked as beautiful 
and serene as usual. Her salutation, though far from de- 
ficient in warmth, was a little more dignified than that 
which Plantagenet remembered ; but still her presence re- 
assured him, and while he pressed her hand with earnest- 
ness he contrived to murmur forth with pleasing emotion, 
his delight at again meeting her. Strange to say, in the 
absorbing agitation of the moment, all thought of Venetia 
had vanished ; and it was when he had turned and beheld 

u 2 



164 VENETIA. 

a maiden of the most exquisite beauty that his vision had 
ever lighted on, who had just risen from her seat and was 
at the moment saluting him, that he entirely lost his pre- 
sence of mind ; he turned scarlet, was quite silent, made an 
awkward bow, and then stood perfectly fixed. 

' My daughter,' said Lady Annabel, slightly pointing to 
Venetia ; ' will not you be seated ? ' 

Cadurcis fell into a chair in absolute confusion. The rare 
and surpassing beauty of Venetia, his own stupidity, his 
admiration of her, his contempt for himself, the sight of the 
old chamber, the recollection of the past, the minutest in- 
cidents of which seemed all suddenly to crowd upon his 
memory, the painful consciousness of the revolution which 
had occurred in his position in the family, proved by his 
first being obliged to be introduced to Venetia, and then 
being addressed so formally by his title by her mother; 
all these impressions united overcame him ; he could not 
speak, he sat silent and confounded ; and had it not been 
for the imperturbable self-composure and delicate and ami- 
able consideration of Lady Annabel, it would have been 
impossible for him to have remained in a room where he 
experienced agonising embarrassment. 

Under cover, however, of a discharge of discreet inquiries 
as to when he arrived, how long he meant to stay, whether 
he found Cadurcis altered, and similar interrogations which 
required no extraordinary exertion of his lordship's intellect 
to answer, but to which he nevertheless contrived to give 
inconsistent and contradictory responses, Cadurcis in time 
recovered himself sufficiently to maintain a fair though not 
very brilliant conversation, and even ventured occasionally 
to address an observation to Venetia, who was seated at 
her work perfectly composed, but who replied to all his 
remarks with the same sweet voice and artless simplicity 
which had characterised her childhood, though time and 
thought had, by their blended influence, perhaps somewhat 
deprived her of that wild grace and sparkling gaiety for 
which she was once so eminent. 



VENETIA. 165 

These great disenchanters of humanity, if indeed they 
had stolen away some, of the fascinating qualities of infancy, 
had amply recompensed Venetia Herbert for the loss by the 
additional and commanding charms which they had con- 
ferred on her. From a beautiful child she had expanded 
into a most beautiful woman. She had now entirely re- 
covered from her illness, of which the only visible effect 
was the addition that it had made to her stature, already 
slightly above the middle height, but of exquisite symmetry. 
Like her mother, she did not wear powder, then usual in 
society ; but her auburn hair, of the finest texture, descended 
in long and luxuriant tresses far over her shoulders, braided 
with ribands, perfectly exposing her pellucid brow, here and 
there tinted with an undulating vein, for she had retained, 
if possible with increased lustre, the dazzling complexion ot 
her infancy. If the rose upon the cheek were less vivid 
than of yore, the dimples were certainly more developed ; 
the clear grey eye was shadowed by long dark lashes, and 
every smile and movement of those ruby lips revealed teeth 
exquisitely small and regular, and fresh and brilliant as 
pearls just plucked by a diver. 

Conversation proceeded and improved. Cadurcis became 
more easy and more fluent. His memory, which seemed 
suddenly to have returned to him with unusual vigour, 
wonderfully served him. There was scarcely an individual 
of whom he did not contrive to inquire, from Dr. Mash am 
to Mistress Pauncefort ; he was resolved to show that if he 
had neglected, he had at least not forgotten them. Nor did 
he exhibit the slightest indication of terminating his visit ; 
so that Lady Annabel, aware that he was alone at the abbey 
and that he could have no engagement in the neighbourhood, 
could not refrain from inviting him to remain and dine with 
them. The invitation was accepted without hesitation. In 
due course of time Cadurcis attended the ladies in their 
walk ; it was a delightful stroll in the park, though he felt 
some slight emotion when he found himself addressing 
Venetia bv the title of ' Miss Herbert.' When he had ex- 



166 VENETIA. 

liausted all the topics of local interest, he had a great deal 
to say about himself in answer to the inquiries of Lady 
Annabel. He spoke with so much feeling and simplicity 
of his first days at Eton, and the misery he experienced on 
first quitting Cherbury, that his details could not fail of 
being agreeable to those whose natural self-esteem they so 
agreeably flattered. Then he dwelt upon his casual ac- 
quaintance with London society, and Lady Annabel was 
gratified to observe, from many incidental observations, that 
his principles were in every respect of the right tone ; and 
that he had zealously enlisted himself in the ranks of that 
national party who opposed themselves to the disorganising 
opinions then afloat. He spoke of his impending residence 
at the university with the affectionate anticipations which 
might have been expected from a devoted child of the an- 
cient and orthodox institutions of his country, and seemed 
perfectly impressed with the responsible duties for which 
he was destined, as an hereditary legislator of England. 
On the whole, his carriage and conversation afforded a 
delightful evidence of a pure, and earnest, and frank, and 
gifted mind, that had acquired at an early age much of the 
mature and fixed character of manhood, without losing any- 
thing of that boyish sincerity and simplicity too often the 
penalty of experience. 

The dinner passed in pleasant conversation, and if they 
were no longer familiar, they were at least cordial. Cadurcis 
spoke of Dr. Masham with affectionate respect, and men- 
tioned his intention of visiting Marringhurst on the fol- 
lowing day. He ventured to hope that Lady Annabel 
and Miss Herbert might accompany him, and it was ar- 
ranged that his wish should be gratified. The evening 
drew on apace, and Lady Annabel was greatly pleased when 
Lord Cadurcis expressed his wish to remain for their 
evening prayers. He was indeed sincerely religious ; and 
as he knelt in the old chapel that had been the hallowed 
scene of his boyish devotions, he offered his ardent thanks- 
givings to his Creator who had mercifully kept his soul 



VENETIA. 167 

pure and true, and allowed him, after so long an estrange- 
ment from the sweet spot of his childhood, once more to 
mingle his supplications with his kind and virtuous friends. 

Influenced by the solemn sounds still lingering in his ear, 
Cadurcis bade them farewell for the night, with an earnest- 
ness of manner and depth of feeling which he would scarcely 
have ventured to exhibit at their first meeting. ' Good 
night, dear Lady Annabel,' he said, as he pressed her hand ; 
' you know not how happy, how grateful 1 feel, to be once 
more at Cherbury. Good night, Yenetia ! ' 

That last word lingered on his lips ; it was uttered in a 
tone at once mournful and sweet, and her hand was un- 
consciously retained for a moment in his ; but for a mo- 
ment ; and yet in that brief instant a thousand thoughts 
seemed to course through his brain. 

Before Yenetia retired to rest she remained for a few 
minutes in her mother's room. ' What do you think of 
him, mamma ? ' she said ; ' is he not very changed ? ' 

'He is, my love,' replied Lady Annabel; 'what I 
sometimes thought he might, what I always hoped he 
would, be.' 

' He really seemed happy to meet us again, and yet how 
strange that for years he should never have communicated 
with us.' 

' Not so very strange, my love ! He was but a child 
when we parted, and he has felt embarrassment in resum- 
ing connections which for a long interval had been inevi- 
tably severed. Remember what a change his life had to 
endure ; few, after such an interval, would have returned 
with feelings so kind and so pure ! ' 

' He was always a favourite of yours, mamma ! ' 

' I always fancied that I observed in him the seeds of 
great virtues and great talents ; but I was not so sanguine 
that they would have flourished as they appear to have 
done.' 

In the meantime the subject of their observations strolled 
home on foot, for he had dismissed his horses, to the abbey. 



168 VENETIA. 

It was a brilliant night, and the white beams of the moon 
fell full upon the old monastic pile, of which massy portions 
were in dark shade while the light gracefully rested on the 
projecting ornaments of the building, and played, as it were, 
with the fretted and fantastic pinnacles. Behind were the 
savage hills, softened by the hour ; and on the right ex- 
tended the still and luminous lake. Cadurcis rested for a 
moment and gazed upon the fair, yet solemn scene. The 
dreams of ambition that occasionally distracted him were 
dead. The surrounding scene harmonised with the thoughts 
of purity, repose, and beauty that filled his soul. Why 
should he ever leave this spot, sacred to him by the finest 
emotions of his nature ? Why should he not at once quit 
that world which he had just entered, while he could quit 
it without remorse ? If ever there existed a being who was 
his own master, who might mould his destiny at his will, it 
seemed to be Cadurcis. His lone yet independent situation, 
his impetuous yet firm volition, alike qualified him to achieve 
the career most grateful to his disposition. Let him, then, 
achieve it here ; here let him find that solitude he had ever 
loved, softened by that affection for which he had ever 
sighed, and which here only he had ever found. It seemed 
to him that there was only one being in the world whom 
he had ever loved, and that was Venetia Herbert : it seemed 
to him that there was only one thing in this world worth 
living for, and that was the enjoyment of her sweet heart. 
The pure-minded, the rare, the gracious creature ! Why 
should she ever quit these immaculate bowers wherein she 
had been so mystically and delicately bred ? Why should 
she ever quit the fond roof of Cherbury, but to shed grace 
and love amid the cloisters of Cadurcis? Her life hitherto 
had been an enchanted tale ; why should the spell ever 
break ? Why should she enter that world where care, 
disappointment, mortification, misery, must await her? 
He for a season had left the magic circle of her life, and 
perhaps it was well. He was a man, and so he should 
know all. But he had returned, thank Heaven ! he had 



VENETIA. 169 

returned, and never again would he quit her. Fool that 
he had been ever to have neglected her ! And for a reason 
that ought to have made him doubly her friend, her solace, 
her protector. Oh ! to think of the sneers or the taunts of 
the world calling for a moment the colour from that bright 
cheek, or dusking for an instant the radiance of that brilliant 
eye ! His heart ached at the thought of her unhappiness, 
and he longed to press her to it, and cherish her like some 
innocent dove that had flown from the terrors of a pursuing 
hawk. 



CHAPTER II. 

' WELL, Pauncefort,' said Lord Cadurcis, smiling, as he 
renewed his acquaintance with his old friend, ' I hope you 
have not forgotten my last words, and have taken care of 
your young lady.' 

' Oh ! dear, my lord,' said Mistress Pauncefort, blushing 
and simpering. ' Well to be sure, how your lordship has 
surprised us all ! I thought we were never going to see 
you again ! ' 

' You know I told you I should return ; and now I mean 
never to leave you again.' 

' Never is a long word, my lord,' said Mistress Paunce- 
fort, looking very archly. 

' Ah ! but I mean to settle, regularly to settle here,' said 
Lord Cadurcis. 

' Marry and settle, my lord,' said Mistress Pauncefort, 
still more arch. 

' And why not ? ' inquired Lord Cadurcis, laughing. 

1 That is just what I said last night,' exclaimed Mistress 
Pauncefort, eagerly. ' And why not ? for I said, says I, 
his lordship must marry sooner or later, and the sooner the 
better, say I : and to be sure he is very young, but what of 
that ? for, says I, no one can say he does not look quite a 
man. And really, my lord, saving your presence, you are 
grown indeed.' 



170 VENETIA. 

' Pish ! ' said Lord Cadurcis, turning away and laughing. 
' I have left off growing, Pauncefort, and all those sort of 
things.' 

'You have not forgotten our last visit to Marringhurst ?' 
said Lord Cadurcis to Venetia, as the comfortable mansion 
of the worthy Doctor appeared in sight. 

' I have forgotten nothing,' replied Venetia with a faint 
smile ; ' I do not know what it is to forget. My life has 
been so uneventful that every past incident, however slight, 
is as fresh in my memory as if it occurred yesterday.' 

' Then you remember the strawberries and cream ?' said 
Lord Cadurcis. 

' And other circumstances less agreeable,' he fancied 
Venetia observed, but her voice was low. 

' Do you know, Lady Annabel,' said Lord Cadurcis, 'that 
I was very nearly riding my pony to-day ? I wish to bring 
back old times with the utmost possible completeness ; I 
wish for a moment to believe that I have never quitted 
Cherbury.' 

' Let us think only of the present now,' said Lady Annabel 
in a cheerful voice, ' for it is very agreeable. I see the good 
Doctor ; he has discovered us.' 

' I wonder whom he fancies Lord Cadurcis to be ?' said 
Venetia. 

' Have you no occasional cavalier for whom at a distance 
I may be mistaken ?' inquired his lordship in a tone of 
affected carelessness, though in truth it was an inquiry that 
he made not without anxiety. 

' Everything remains here exactly as you left it,' replied 
Lady Annabel, with some quickness, yet in a lively tone. 

' Happy Cherbury ! ' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis. ' May it 
indeed never change ! ' 

They rode briskly on ; the Doctor was standing at his 
gate. He saluted Lady Annabel and Venetia with his ac- 
customed cordiality, and then stared at their companion as 
if waiting for an introduction. 



VENETIA. 171 

'You forget an old friend, my dear Doctor,' said Ca- 
durcis. 

' Lord Cadurcis ! ' exclaimed Dr. Masham. His lordsliip 
had by this time dismounted and eagerly extended his hand 
to his old tutor. 

Having quitted their horses they all entered the house, 
nor was there naturally any want of conversation. Cadurcis 
had much information to give and many questions to an- 
swer. He was in the highest spirits and the most amiable 
mood; gay, amusing, and overflowing with kind-hearted- 
ness. The Doctor seldom required any inspiration to be 
joyous, and Lady Annabel was unusually animated. Yenetia 
alone, though cheerful, was calmer than pleased Cadurcis. 
Time, he sorrowfully observed, had occasioned a greater 
change in her manner than he could have expected. Youth- 
ful as she still was, indeed but on the threshold of woman- 
hood, and exempted, as it seemed she had been, from any- 
thing to disturb the clearness of her mind, that enchanting 
play of fancy which had once characterised her, and which 
he recalled with a sigh, appeared in a great degree to have 
deserted her. He watched her countenance with emotion, 
and, supremely beautiful as it undeniably was, there was a 
cast of thoughtfulness or suffering impressed upon the fea- 
tures which rendered him mournful he knew not why, and 
caused him to feel as if a cloud had stolen unexpectedly 
over the sun and made him shiver. 

But there was no time or opportunity for sad reflections ; 
he had to renew his acquaintance with all the sights and 
curiosities of the rectory, to sing to the canaries, and visit 
the gold fish, admire the stuffed fox, and wonder that in the 
space of five years the voracious otter had not yet contrived 
to devour its prey. Then they refreshed themselves after 
their ride with a stroll in the Doctor's garden ; Cadurcis 
persisted in attaching himself to Venetia, as in old days, 
and nothing would prevent him from leading her to the 
grotto. Lady Annabel walked behind, leaning on the Doc- 



172 VENETIA. 

tor's arm, narrating, -with no fear of being heard, all the 
history of their friend's return. 

'I never was so surprised in my life,' said the Doctor; 
' he is vastly improved ; he is quite a man ; his carriage is 
very finished.' 

'And his principles,' said Lady Annabel. 'You have no 
idea, my dear Doctor, how right his opinions seem to be on 
every subject. He has been brought up in a good school ; 
he does his guardian great credit. He is quite loyal and 
orthodox in all his opinions ; ready to risk his life for our 
blessed constitution in Church and State. He requested, as 
a favour, that he might remain at our prayers last night. 
It is delightful for me to see him turn out so well ! ' 

In the meantime Cadurcis and Venetia entered the grotto. 

' The dear Doctor ! ' said Cadurcis : ' five years have 
brought no visible change even to him ; perhaps he may 
be a degree less agile, but I will not believe it. And Lady 
Annabel ; it seems to me your mother is more youthful and 
beautiful than ever. There is a spell in our air,' continued 
his lordship, with a laughing eye ; ' for if we have changed, 
Venetia, ours is, at least, an alteration that bears no sign of 
decay. We are advancing, but they have not declined ; we 
are all enchanted.' 

' I feel changed,' said Venetia gravely. 

' I left you a child and I find you a woman,' said Lord 
Cadurcis, ' a change which who can regret ? ' 

' I would I were a child again,' said Venetia. 

' We were happy,' said Lord Cadurcis, in a thoughtful 
tone ; and then in an inquiring voice he added, ' and so we 
are now ? ' 

Venetia shook her head. 

' Can you be unhappy ? ' 

' To be unhappy would be wicked,' said Venetia ; ' but my 
mind has lost its spring.' 

' Ah ! say not so, Venetia, or you will make even me 
gloomy. I am happy, positively happy. There must not 
be a cloud upon your brow.' 



VENETIA. 1 7 3 

' You are joyous,' said Venetia, ' because you are excited. 
It is the novelty of return that animates you. It will wear 
off ; you will grow weary, and when you go to the university 
you will think yourself happy again.' 

' I do not intend to go to the university,' said Cadurcis. 

' I understood from you that you were going there imme- 
diately.' 

' My plans are changed,' said Cadurcis ; ' I do not intend 
ever to leave home again.' 

' When you go to Cambridge,' said Dr. Masham, who 
just then reached them, ' I shall trouble you with a letter 
to an old friend of mine whose acquaintance you may find 
valuable.' 

Venetia smiled ; Cadurcis bowed, expressed his thanks, 
and muttered something about talking over the subject with 
the Doctor. 

After this the conversation became general, and at length 
they all returned to the house to partake of the Doctor's 
hospitality, who promised to dine at the hall on the morrow. 
The ride home was agreeable and animated, but the conver- 
sation on the part of the ladies was principally maintained 
by Lady Annabel, who seemed every moment more delighted 
with the society of Lord Cadurcis, and to sympathise every 
instant more completely with his frank exposition of his 
opinions on all subjects. When they returned to Cherbury, 
Cadurcis remained with them as a matter of course. An 
invitation was neither expected nor given. Not an allusion 
was made to the sports of the field, to enjoy which was the 
original purpose of his visit to the abbey ; and he spoke of 
to-morrow as of a period which, as usual, was to be spent 
entirely in their society. He remained with them, as on the 
previous night, to the latest possible moment. Although 
reserved in society, no one could be more fluent with those 
with whom he was perfectly unembarrassed. He was in- 
deed exceedingly entertaining, and Lady Annabel relaxed 
into conversation beyond her custom. As for Venetia, she 
4id not speak often, but she listened with interest, and was 



174 VENETIA. 

evidently amused. When Cadurcis bade them good-night 
Lady Annabel begged him to breakfast with them ; while 
Venetia, serene, though kind, neither seconded the invi- 
tation, nor seemed interested one way or the other in its 
result. 



CHAPTEK III. 

EXCEPT returning to sleep at the abbey, Lord Cadurcis was 
now as much an habitual inmate of Cherbury Hall as in the 
days of his childhood. He was there almost with the lark, 
and never quitted its roof until its inmates were about to 
retire for the night. His guns and dogs, which had been 
sent down from London with so much pomp of preparation, 
were unused and unnoticed ; and he passed his days in read- 
ing Richardson's novels, which he had brought with him 
from town, to the ladies, and then in riding with them 
about the country, for he loved to visit all his old haunts, 
and trace even the very green sward where he first met the 
gipsies, and fancied that he had achieved his emancipation 
from all the coming cares and annoyances of the world. In 
this pleasant life several weeks had glided away : Cadurcis 
had entirely resumed his old footing in the family, nor did 
he attempt to conceal the homage he was paying to the 
charms of Venetia. She indeed seemed utterly unconscious 
that such projects had entered, or indeed could enter, the 
brain of her old playfellow, with whom, now that she was 
habituated to his presence, and revived by his inspiriting 
society, she had resumed all her old familiar intimacy, ad- 
dressing him by his Christian name, as if he had never 
ceased to be her brother. But Lady Annabel was not so 
blind as her daughter, and had indeed her vision been as 
clouded, her faithful minister, Mistress Pauncefort, would 
have taken care quickly to couch it ; for a very short time 
had elapsed before that vigilant gentlewoman, resolved to 
convince her mistress that nothing could escape her sleep- 



VENETIA. 175 

less scrutiny, and that it was equally in vain for her mistress 
to hope to possess any secrets without her participation, seized 
a convenient opportunity before she bid her lady goodnight, 
just to inquire ' when it might be expected to take place ? ' 
and in reply to the very evident astonishment which Lady 
Annabel testified at this question, and the expression of her 
extreme displeasure at any conversation on a circumstance 
for which there was not the slightest foundation, Mistress 
Pauncefort, after duly flouncing about with every possible 
symbol of pettish agitation and mortified curiosity, her 
cheek pale with hesitating impertinence, and her nose quiver- 
ing with inquisitiveness, condescended to admit with a 
sceptical sneer, that, of course, no doubt her ladyship knew 
more of such a subject than she could ; it was not her place 
to know anything of such business ; for her part she said 
nothing ; it was not her place, but if it were, she certainly 
must say that she could not help believing that my lord was 
looking remarkably sweet on Miss Venetia, and what was 
more, everybody in the house thought the same, though for 
her part, whenever they mentioned the circumstance to her, 
she said nothing, or bid them hold their tongues, for what 
was it to them ; it was not their business, and they could 
know nothing ; and that nothing would displease her lady- 
ship more than chattering on such subjects, and many's the 
match as good as finished, that's gone off by no worse means 
than the chitter-chatter of those who should hold their 
tongues. Therefore she should say no more ; but if her 
ladyship wished her to contradict it, why she could, and the 
sooner, perhaps, the better. 

Lady Annabel observed to her that she wished no such 
thing, but she desired that Pauncefort would make no more 
observations on the subject, either to her or to any one else. 
And then Pauncefort bade her ladyship good night in a 
huff, catching up her candle with a rather impertinent jerk, 
and gently slamming the door, as if she had meant to close 
it quietly, only it had escaped out of her fingers. 

Whatever might be the tone, whether of surprise or dis- 



176 VENETIA. 

pleasure, which Lady Annabel thought fit to assume to her 
attendant on her noticing Lord Cadurcis' attentions to her 
daughter, there is no doubt that his conduct had early and 
long engaged her ladyship's remark, her consideration, and 
her approval. Without meditating indeed an immediate 
union between Cadurcis and Yenetia, Lady Annabel pleased 
herself with the prospect of her daughter's eventual mar- 
riage with one whom she had known so early and so 
intimately ; who was by nature of a gentle, sincere, and 
affectionate disposition, and in whom education had care- 
fully instilled the most sound and laudable principles and 
opinions ; one apparently with simple tastes, moderate de- 
sires, fair talents, a mind intelligent, if not brilliant, and 
passions which at the worst had been rather ill-regulated 
than violent ; attached also to Venetia from her childhood, 
and always visibly affected by her influence. All these moral 
considerations seemed to offer a fair security for happiness ; 
and the material ones were neither less promising, nor 
altogether disregarded by the mother. It was an union 
which would join broad lands and fair estates; which would 
place on the brow of her daughter one of the most ancient 
coronets in England ; and, which indeed was the chief of 
these considerations, would, without exposing Yenetia to 
that contaminating contact with the wprld from which 
Lady Annabel recoiled, establish her, without this initiatory 
and sorrowful experience, in a position superior to which 
even the blood of the Herberts, though it might flow in so 
fair and gifted a form as that of Yenetia, need not aspire. 

Lord Cadurcis had not returned to Cherbury a week 
before this scheme entered into the head of Lady Annabel. 
She had always liked him ; had always given him credit for 
good qualities ; had always believed that his early defects 
were the consequence of his mother's injudicious treatment; 
and that at heart he was an amiable, generous, and trust- 
worthy being, one who mightbe depended on, with a naturally 
good judgment, and substantial and sufficient talents, which 
only required cultivation. "When she met him again after 



VENETIA. 177 

so long an interval, and found her early prognostics so 
fairly, so completely fulfilled, and watched his conduct and 
conversation, exhibiting alike a well-informed mind, an 
obliging temper, and, what Lady Annabel valued even 
above all gifts and blessings, a profound conviction of the 
truth of all her own opinions, moral, political, and religious, 
she was quite charmed ; she was moved to unusual anima- 
tion ; she grew excited in his praise ; his presence delighted 
her ; she entertained for him the warmest affection, and re. 
posed in him unbounded confidence. All her hopes became 
concentred in the wish of seeing him her son-in-law ; and 
she detected with lively satisfaction the immediate impres- 
sion which Yenetia had made upon his heart ; for indeed it 
should not be forgotten, that although Lady Annabel was 
still young, and although her frame and temperament were 
alike promising of a long life, it was natural, when she re- 
flected upon the otherwise lone condition of her daughter, 
that she should tremble at the thought of quitting this 
world without leaving her child a protector. To Doctor 
Masham, from whom Lady Annabel had no secrets, she 
confided in time these happy but covert hopes, and he was 
not less anxious than herself for their fulfilment. Since 
the return of Cadurcis the Doctor contrived to be a more 
frequent visitor at the hall than usual, and he lost no op- 
portunity of silently advancing the object of his friend. 

As for Cadurcis himself, it was impossible for him nok 
quickly to discover that no obstacle to his heart's dearest 
wish would arise on the part of the parent. The demeanour 
of the daughter somewhat more perplexed him. Venetia 
indeed had entirely fallen into her old habits of intimacy 
and frankness with Plantagenet ; she was as affectionate 
and as unembarrassed as in former days, and almost as gay ; 
for his presence and companionship had in a great degree 
insensibly removed that stillness and gravity which had 
gradually influenced her mind and conduct. But in that 
conduct there was, and lie observed it with some degree of 
mortification, a total absence of the consciousness of being 



178 VENETIA. 

the object of the passionate admiration of another. She 
treated Lord Cadurcis as a brother she much loved, who 
had returned to his home after a long absence. She liked 
to listen to his conversation, to hear of his adventures, to 
consult over his plans. His arrival called a smile to her 
face, and his departure for the night was always alleviated 
by some allusion to their meeting on the morrow. But 
many an ardent gaze on the part of Cadurcis, and many a 
phrase of emotion, passed unnoticed and unappreciated. 
His gallantry was entirely thrown away, or, if observed, 
only occasioned a pretty stare at the unnecessary trouble he 
gave himself, or the strange ceremony which she supposed 
an acquaintance with society had taught him. Cadurcis 
attributed this reception of his veiled and delicate overtures 
to her ignorance of the world ; and though he sighed for as 
passionate a return to his strong feelings as the sentiments 
which animated himself, he was on the whole not displeased, 
but rather interested, by these indications of a pure and 
unsophisticated spirit. 



CHAPTER IV. 

CADURCIS had proposed, and Lady Annabel had seconded 
the proposition with eager satisfaction, that they should 
seek some day at the abbey whatever hospitality it might 
offer ; Dr. Masham was to be of the party, which was, in- 
deed, one of those fanciful expeditions where the same 
companions, though they meet at all times without re- 
straint and with every convenience of life, seek increased 
amusement in the novelty of a slight change of habits. 
With the aid of the neighbouring town of Southport, 
Cadurcis had made preparations for his friends not entirely 
unworthy of them, though he affected to the last all the air 
of a conductor of a wild expedition of discovery, and laugh- 
ingly impressed upon them the necessity of steeling their 



-VENETIA. 179 

minds and bodies to the experience and endurance of the 
roughest treatment and the most severe hardships. 

The morning of this eventful day broke as beautifully as 
the preceding ones. Autumn had seldom been more gor- 
geous than this year. Although he was to play the host, 
Cadurcis would not deprive himself of his usual visit to the 
hall ; and he appeared there at an early hour to accompany 
his guests, who were to ride over to the abbey, to husband 
all their energies for their long rambles through the demesne. 

Cadurcis was in high spirits, and Lady Annabel scarcely 
less joyous. Venetia smiled with her usual sweetness and 
serenity. They congratulated each other on the charming 
season ; and Mistress Pauncefort received a formal invita- 
tion to join the party and go a-nutting with one of her 
fellow- servants and his lordship's valet. The good Doctor 
was rather late, but he arrived at last on his stout steed, 
in his accustomed cheerful mood. Here was a party of 
pleasure which all agreed must be pleasant ; no strangers 
to amuse, or to be amusing, but formed merely of four 
human beings who spent every day of their lives in each 
other's society, between whom there was the most complete 
sympathy and the most cordial good- will. 

By noon they were all mounted on their steeds, and 
though the air was warmed by a meridian sun shining in a 
clear sky, there was a gentle breeze abroad, sweet and 
grateful ; and moreover they soon entered the wood and 
enjoyed the shelter of its verdant shade. The abbey looked 
most picturesque when they first burst upon it ; the nearer 
and wooded hills, which formed its immediate background, 
just tinted by the golden pencil of autumn, while the meads 
of the valley were still emerald green ; and the stream, now 
lost, now winding, glittered here and there in the sun, and 
gave a life and sprightliness to the landscape which ex- 
ceeded even the effect of the more distant and expansive 
lake. 

They were received at the abbey by Mistress Pauncefort, 
who had preceded theci, and who welcomed them with a 

N 2 



180 VENETIA. 

complacent smile. Cadureis hastened to assist Lady Anna- 
bel to dismount, and was a little confused but very pleased 
when she assured him she needed no assistance but re- 
quested him to take care of Venetia. He was just in time 
to receive her in his arms, where she found herself without 
the slightest embarrassment. The coolness of the cloisters 
was grateful after their ride, and they lingered and looked 
upon the old fountain, and felt the freshness of its fall with 
satisfaction which all alike expressed. Lady Annabel and 
Venetia then retired for a while to free themselves from 
their riding habits, and Cadurcis affectionately taking the 
arm of Dr. Masham led him a few paces, and then almost 
involuntarily exclaimed, ' My dear Doctor, I think I am the 
happiest fellow that ever lived!' 

' That I trust you may always be, my dear boy,' said Dr. 
Masham ; ' but what has called forth this particular ex- 
clamation ? ' 

' To feel that I am once more at Cadurcis ; to feel that I 
am here once more with you all ; to feel that I never shall 
leave you again.' 

' Not again ? ' 

'Never!' said Cadnrcis. 'The experience of these last 
few weeks, which yet have seemed an age in my existence, 
has made me resolve never to quit a society where I am 
persuaded I may obtain a degree of happiness which what 
is called the world can never afford me.' 

' What will your guardian say ? ' 

' What care I ? ' 

'A dutiful ward!' 

'Poh! the relations between us were formed only to 
secure my welfare. It is secured ; it will be secured by 
my own resolution.' 

' And what is that ? ' inquired Dr. Masham. 

' To marry Venetia, if she will accept me.' 

' And that you do not doubt.' 

' We doubt everything when everything is at stake,' re- 
plied Lord Cadurcis. ' I know that her consent would en- 



VENETIA. 181 

sure my happiness ; and when I reflect, I cannot help being 
equally persuaded that it would secure hers. Her mother, 
I think, would not be adverse to our union. And you, my 
dear sir, what do you think ? ' 

' I think,' said Dr. Masham, ' that whoever marries 
Venetia will marry the most beautiful and the most gifted 
of God's creatures ; I hope you may marry her ; I wish 
you to marry her ; I believe you will marry her, but not 
yet ; you arc too young, Lord Cadurcis.' 

' Oh, no ! my dear Doctor, not too young to marry 
Venetia. Remember I have known her all my life, at least 
so long as I have been able to form an opinion. How few 
are the men, my dear Doctor, who are so fortunate as to 
unite themselves with women whom they have known, as 
I have known Venetia, for more than seven long years ! ' 

' During five of which you have never seen or heard of her.' 

'Mine was the fault ! And yet I cannot help thinking, 
as it may probably turn out, as you yourself believe it will 
turn out, that it is as well that we have been separated for 
this interval. It has afforded me opportunities for observa- 
tion which I should never have enjoyed at Cadurcis ; and 
although my lot either way could not have altered the nature 
of things, I might have been discontented, I might have 
sighed for a world which now I do not value. It is true 
I have not seen Venetia for five years, but I find her the 
same, or changed only by nature, and fulfilling all the rich 
promise which her childhood intimated. No, my dear Doctor, 
I respect your opinion more than that of any man living ; 
but nobody, nothing, can persuade me that I am not as in- 
timately acquainted with Venetia' s character, with all her 
rare virtues, as if we had never separated.' 

'I do not doubt it,' said the Doctor; 'high as you may 
pitch your estimate you cannot overvalue her.' 

' Then why should we not marry ? ' 

' Because, my dear friend, although you may be perfectly 
acquainted with Venetia, you cannot be perfectly acquainted 
with vourself. ' 



182 VENETIA. 

' How so ? ' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis in a tone of surprise, 
perhaps a little indignant. 

' Because it is impossible. No young man of eighteen 
ever possessed such precious knowledge. I esteem and 
admire you ; I give yon every credit for a good heart and a 
sound head ; but it is impossible, at your time of life, that 
your character can be formed ; and, until it be, you may 
marry Venetia.and yet be a very miserable man.' 

' It is formed,' said his lordship firmly ; ' there is not a 
subject important to a human being on which my opinions 
are not settled.' 

'You may live to change them all,' said the Doctor, ' and 
that very speedily.' 

' Impossible ! ' said Lord Cadurcis. ' My dear Doctor, I 
cannot understand you; you say that you hope, that you 
wish, even that you believe that I shall marry Venetia ; and 
yet you permit me to infer that our union will only make 
us miserable. What do you wish me to do ? ' 

' Go to college for a term or two.' 

'Without Yenetia ! I should die.' 

' Well, if you be in a dying state you can return.' 

' You joke, my dear Doctor.' 

' My dear boy, I am perfectly serious.' 

' But she may marry somebody else ? ' 

' I am your only rival,' said the Doctor, with a smile ; 
' and though even friends can scarcely be trusted under such 
circumstances, I promise you not to betray you.' 

' Your advice is not very pleasant,' said his lordship. 

' Good advice seldom is,' said the Doctor. 

' My dear Doctor, I have made up my mind to marry her, 
and marry her at once. I know her well, you admit that 
yourself. I do not believe that there ever was a woman 
like her, that there ever will be a woman like her. Nature 
has marked her out from other women, and her education 
has not been less peculiar. Her mystic breeding pleases me. 
It is something to marry a wife so fair, so pure, so refined, 
so accomplished, who is, nevertheless, perfectly ignorant of 



VENETIA. 183 

the world. I have dreamt of such things ; I have paced these 
old cloisters when a boy and when I was miserable at home ; 
and I have had visions, and this was one. I have sighed to 
live alone with a fair spirit for my minister. Venecia has 
descended from heaven for me, and for me alone. I am re- 
solved I will pluck this flower with the dew upon its leaves.' 

' I did not know I was reasoning with a poet,' said the 
Doctor, with a smile. ' Had I been conscious of it, I wonld 
not have been so rash.' 

' I have not a grain of poetry in my composition,' said his 
lordship ; ' I never could write a verse ; I was notorious at 
Eton for begging all their old manuscripts from boys when 
they left school, to crib from ; but I have a heart, and I can 
feel. I love Venetia, I have always loved her, and, if pos- 
sible, I will marry her, and marry her at once.' 



CHAPTER V. 

THE reappearance of the ladies at the end of the cloister 
terminated this conversation, the result of which was rather 
to confirm Lord Cadurcis in his resolution of instantly ur- 
ging his suit, than the reverse. He ran forward to greet his 
friends with a smile, and took his place by the side of Venetia, 
whom, a little to her surprise, he congratulated in glowing 
phrase on her charming costume. Indeed she looked very 
captivating, with a pastoral hat, then much in fashion, and 
a dress as simple and as sylvan, both showing to admirable 
advantage her long descending hair, and her agile and springy 
figure. 

Cadurcis proposed that they should ramble over the abbey; 
he talked of projected alterations, as if he really had the 
power immediately to effect them, and was desirous of ob- 
taining their opinions before any change was made. So 
they ascended the staircase which many years before Venetia 
had mounted for the first time with her mother, and entered 



184 VENETIA. 

that series of small and ill-furnished rooms in which Mrs. 
Cadurcis had principally resided, and which had undergone 
no change. The old pictures were examined; these, all 
agreed, never must move ; and the new furniture, it was 
settled, must be in character with the building. Lady 
Annabel entered into all the details with an interest and 
animation which rather amused Dr. Masham. Venetia 
listened and suggested, and responded to the frequent ap- 
peals of Cadurcis to her judgment with an unconscious 
equanimity not less diverting. 

' Now here we really can do something,' said his lordship 
as they entered the saloon, or rather refectory; 'here I 
think we may effect wonders. The tapestry must always 
remain. Is it not magnificent, Venetia ? But what hang- 
ings shall we have ? We must keep the old chairs, I think. 
Do you approve of the old chairs, Venetia ? And what 
shall we cover them with ? Shall it be damask ? "What do 
you think, Venetia ? Do you like damask ? And what colour 
shall it be ? Shall it be crimson ? Shall it be crimson 
damask, Lady Annabel ? Do you think Venetia would like 
crimson damask ? Now, Venetia, do give us the benefit of 
your opinion.' 

Then they entered the old gallery ; here was to be a great 
transformation. Marvels were to be effected in the old 
gallery, and many and multiplied were the appeals to the 
taste and fancy of Venetia. 

' I think,' said Lord Cadurcis, ' I shall leave the gallery 
to be arranged when I am settled. The rooms and the sa- 
loon shall be done at once. I shall give orders for them to 
begin instantly. Whom do you recommend, Lady Annabel? 
Do you think there is any person at Southport who could 
manage to do it, superintended by our taste ? Venetia, what 
do you think ?' 

Venetia was standing at the window, rather apart from 
her companions, looking at the old garden. Lord Cadurcis 
joined her. ' Ah ! it has been sadly neglected since my 
poor mother's time. We could not do much in those days, 



VENETIA. 185 

but still she loved this garden. I must depend upon you 
entirely to arrange my garden, Venetia. This spot is sacred 
to you. You have not forgotten our labours here, have 
you, Venotia ? Ah ! those were happy days, and these shall 
be more happy still. This is your garden ; it shall always 
be called Yenetia's garden.' 

' I would have taken care of it when you were away, 
but ' 

' But what ? ' inquired Lord Cadurcis anxiously. 

' We hardly felt authorised,' replied Venetia calmly. ' We 
came at first when you left Cadurcis, but at last it did not 
seem that our presence was very acceptable.' 

' The brutes ! ' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis. 

' No, no ; good simple people, they were unused to orders 
from strange masters, and they were perplexed. Besides, 
we had no right to interfere.' 

' No right to interfere ! Venetia, my little fellow- labourer, 
no right to interfere ! Why all is yours ! Fancy your 
having no right to interfere at Cadurcis ! ' 

Then they proceeded to the park and wandered to the 
margin of the lake. There was not a spot, not an object, 
which did not recall some adventure or incident of child- 
hood. Every moment Lord Cadurcis exclaimed, 'Venetia! 
do you remember this ? ' ' Venetia ! have you forgotten 
that ? ' and every time Venetia smiled, and proved how 
faithful was her memory by adding some little unmentioned 
trait to the lively reminiscences of her companion. 

'Well, after all,' said Lord Cadurcis with a sigh, 'my 
poor mother was a strange woman, and, God bless her ! used 
sometimes to worry me out of my senses ! but still she 
always loved you. No one can deny that. Cherbury was 
a magic name with her. She loved Lady Annabel, and she 
loved you, Venetia. It ran in the blood, you see. She would 
be happy, quite happy, if she saw us all here together, and 
if she knew ' 

' Plantagenet,' said Lady Annabel, 'you must build a 
lodge at this end of the park. I cannot conceive anything 



186 VENETIA. 

more effective than an entrance from, the South port road in 
this quarter.' 

' Certainly, Lady Annabel, certainly we must build a 
lodge. Do not you think so, Venetia ? ' 

' Indeed I think it would be a great improvement,' replied 
Venetia ; ' but you must take care to have a lodge in cha- 
racter with the abbey.' 

' You shall make a drawing for it,' said Lord Cadurcis ; 
it shall be built directly, and it shall be called Venetia 
Lodge.' 

The hours flew away, loitering in the park, roaming in 
the woods. They met Mistress Pauncefort and her friends 
loaded with plunder, and they offered to Venetia a trophy 
of their success ; but when Venetia, merely to please their 
kind hearts, accepted their tribute with cordiality, and de- 
clared there was nothing she liked better, Lord Cadurcis 
would not be satisfied unless he immediately commenced 
nutting, and each moment he bore to Venetia the produce 
of his sport, till in time she could scarcely sustain the rich 
and increasing burden. At length they bent their steps 
towards home, sufficiently wearied to look forward with 
welcome to rest and their repast, yet not fatigued, and ex- 
hilarated by the atmosphere, for the sun was now in its 
decline, though in this favoured season there were yet hours 
enough remaining of enchanting light. 

In the refectory they found, to the surprise of all but 
their host, a banquet. It was just one of those occasions 
when nothing is expected and everything is welcome and 
surprising; when, from the unpremeditated air generally 
assumed, all preparation startles and pleases ; when even 
ladies are not ashamed to eat, and formality appears quite 
banished. Game of all kinds, teal from the lake, and piles 
of beautiful fruit, made the table alike tempting and pic- 
turesque. Then there were stray bottles of rare wire dis- 
interred from venerable cellars ; and, more inspiriting even 
than the choice wine, a host under the influence of every 
emotion, and swayed by every circumstance that can make 



VENETIA. 187 

a man happy and delightful. Oh ! they were very gay, 
and it seemed difficult to believe that care or sorrow, or the 
dominion of dark or ungracious passions, could ever disturb 
sympathies so complete and countenances so radiant. 

At the urgent request of Cadurcis, Venetia sang to them ; 
and while she sang, the expression of her countenance and 
voice harmonising with the arch hilarity of the subject, 
Plantagenet for a moment believed that he beheld the little 
Venetia of his youth, that sunny child so full of mirth and 
grace, the very recollection of whose lively and bright ex- 
istence might enliven the gloomiest hour and lighten the 
heaviest heart. 

Enchanted by all that surrounded him, full of hope, and 
joy, and plans of future felicity, emboldened by the kindness 
of the daughter, Cadurcis now ventured to urge a request 
to Lady Annabel, and the request was granted, for all 
seemed to feel that it was a day on which nothing was to 
be refused to their friend. Happy Cadurcis ! The child 
had a holiday, and it fancied itself a man enjoying a 
triumph. In compliance, therefore, with his wish, it was 
settled that they should all walk back to the hall ; even 
Dr. Masham declared he was competent to the exertion, 
but perhaps was half entrapped into the declaration by the 
promise of a bed at Cherbury. This consent enchanted 
Cadurcis, who looked forward with exquisite pleasure to 
the evening walk with Venetia. 



CHAPTER VI. 

ALTHOUGH the sun had not set, it had sunk behind the hills 
leading to Cherbury when our friends quitted the abbey. 
Cadurois, without hesitation, offered his arm to Venetia, 
and whether from a secret sympathy with his wishes, or 
merely from some fortunate accident, Lady Annabel and 
Dr. Masham strolled on before without busying themselves 
too earnestly with their companions. 



188 VENETIA. 

' And how do you think our expedition to Cadurcis has 
turned out ? ' inquired the young lord, of Venetia. ' Has 
it been successful ? ' 

' It has been one of the most agreeable days I ever passed,' 
was the reply. 

' Then it has been successful,' rejoined his lordship ; ' for 
my only wish was to amuse you.' 

' I think we have all been equally amused,' said Venetia. 
1 1 never knew mamma in such good spirits. I think 
ever since you returned she has been unusually light- 
hearted.' 

'And you: has my return lightened only her heart, 
Venetia ? ' 

' Indeed it has contributed to the happiness of every one.' 

'And yet, when I first returned, I heard you utter a 
complaint ; the first that to my knowledge ever escaped 
your lips.' 

' Ah ! we cannot be always equally gay.' 

' Once you were, dear Venetia.' 

' I was a child then.' 

' And I, I too was a child ; yet I am happy, at least now 
that I am with you.' 

' Well, we are both happy now.' 

' Oh ! say that again, say that again, Venetia ; for indeed 
you made me miserable when you told me that you had 
changed. I cannot bear that you, Venetia, should ever 
change.' 

' It is the course of nature, Plantagenet ; we all change, 
everything changes. This day that was so bright is 
changing fast.' 

' The stars are as beautiful as the sun, Venetia.' 

* And what do you infer ? ' 

' That Venetia, a woman, is as beautiful as Venetia, a 
little girl ; and should be as happy.' 

' Is beauty happiness, Plantagenet ? ' 

'It makes others happy, Venetia; and when we make 
others happy we should be happy ourselves.' 



VENETIA. 180 

' Few depend upon my influence, and I trust all of them 
are happy.' 

' No one depends upon your influence more than I do.' 

' Well, then, be happy always.' 

' Would that I might ! Ah, Yenetia ! can I ever forget 
old days ? You were the solace of my dark childhood ; you 
were the charm that first taught me existence was enjoy- 
ment. Before I came to Cherbury I never was happy, and 

since that hour Ah, Venetia ! dear, dearest Yenetia ! 

who is like to you ? ' 

'Dear Plantagenet, you were always too kind to me. 
Would we were children once mere ! ' 

' Nay, my own Yenetia ! you tell me everything changes, 
and we must not murmur at the course of nature. I would 
not have our childhood back again, even with all its joys, 
for there are others yet in store for us, not less pure, not 
less beautiful. We loved each other then, Yenetia, and we 
love each other now.' 

' My feelings towards you have never changed, Plan- 
tagenet ; I heard of you always with interest, and I met 
you again with heartfelt pleasure.' 

' Oh, that morning ! Have you forgotten that morning ? 
Do you know, you will smile very much, but I really believe 
that I expected to see my Yenetia still a little girl, the very 
same who greeted me when I first arrived with my mother 
and behaved so naughtily ! And when I saw you, and found 
what you had become, and what I ought always to have 
known you must become, I was so confused I entirely lost 
my presence of mind. Tou must have thought me very 
awkward, very stupid ? ' 

'Indeed, I was rather gratified by observing that you 
could not meet us again without emotion. I thought it 
told well for your heart, which I always believed to be most 
kind, at least, I am sure, to us.' 

' Kind ! oh, Yenetia! that word but ill describes what my 
heart ever was, what it now is, to you. Yenetia ! dearest, 
sweetest Yenetia ! can you doubt for a moment my feelings. 



190 VENETIA. 

towards your home, and what influence must principally 
impel them ? Am I so dull, or you so blind, Venetia ? 
Can I not express, can you not discover how much, how 
ardently, how fondly, how devotedly, I, I, I love you ? ' 

' I am sure we always loved each other, Plantagenet.' 

' Yes ! but not with this love ; not as I love you now ! ' 

Yenetia stared. 

' I thought we could not love each other more than we 
did, Plantagenet,' at length she said. ' Do you remember 
the jewel that you gave me? I always wore it until you 
seemed to forget us, and then I thought it looked so 
foolish ! You remember what is inscribed on it : ' To 
VENETIA, FROM HER AFFECTIONATE BROTHER, PLANTAGENET.' 
And as a brother I always loved you ; had I indeed been 
your sister I could not have loved you more warmly and 
more truly.' 

' I am not your brother, Venetia ; I wish not to be loved 
as a brother : and yet I must be loved by you, or I shall 
die.' 

' What then do you wish ? ' inquired Venetia, with great 
simplicity. 

' I wish yon to marry me,' replied Lord Cadurcis. 

' Marry ! ' exclaimed Venetia, with a face of wonder. 
' Marry ! Marry you ! Marry you, Plantagenet ! ' 

' Ay ! is that so wonderful ? I love you, and if you love 
me, why should we not marry?' 

Venetia was silent and looked upon the ground, not from 
agitation, for she was quite calm, but in thought ; and then 
she said, ' I never thought of marriage in my life, Planta- 
genet ; I have no intention, no wish to marry ; I mean to 
live always with mamma.' 

' And you shall always live with mamma, but that need 
not prevent you from marrying me,' he replied. ' Do not 
we all live together now ? What will it signify if you dwell 
at Cadurcis and Lady Annabel at Cherbury ? Is it not one 
home ? But at any rate, this point shall not be an obstacle ; 
for if it please you we will all live at Cherbury.' 



VENETIA. 191 

' You say that we are happy now, Plantagenet ; oh ! let 
us remain as we are.' 

1 My own sweet girl,, my sister, if you please, any title, so 
it be one of fondness, your sweet simplicity charms me ; 
but, believe me, it cannot be as you wish ; we cannot remain 
as we are unless we marry.' 

' Why not ?' 

' Because I shall be wretched and must live elsewhere, 
if indeed I can live at all.' 

' Oh, Plantagenet ! indeed I thought you were my brother ; 
when I found you after so long a separation as kind as in 
old days, and kinder still, I was so glad ; I was so sure you 
loved me ; I thought I had the kindest brother in the 
world. Let us not talk of any other love. It will, indeed 
it will, make mam ma so miserable ! ' 

'I am greatly mistaken,' replied Lord Cadurcis, who saw 
no obstacles to his hopes in their conversation hitherto, ' if, 
on the contrary, our union would not prove far from dis- 
agreeable to your mother, Venetia ; I will say our mother, 
for indeed to me she has been one.' 

' Plantagenet,' said Yenetia, in a very earnest tone, ' I 
love you very much ; but, if you love me, press me on this 
subject no more at present. You have surprised, indeed 
you have bewildered me. There are thoughts, there are 
feelings, there are considerations, that must be respected, 
that must influence me. Nay! do not look so sorrowful, 
Plantagenet. Let us be happy now. To-morrow, only to- 
morrow, and to-morrow we are sure to meet, we will speak 
further of all this ; but now, now, for a moment let us forget 
it, if we can forget anything so strange. Nay! you shall 
smile ! ' 

He did. Who could resist that mild and winning glance ! 
And indeed Lord Cadurcis was scarcely disappointed, 
and not at all mortified at his reception, or, as he esteemed 
it, the progress of his suit. The conduct of Venetia he 
attributed entirely to her unsophisticated nature and the 
timidity of a virgin soul. It made him prize even more 



1 92 VENETIA. 

dearly the treasure that lie believed awaited him. Silent, 
then, though for a time they both struggled to speak on 
different subjects, silent, and almost content, Cadurcis pro- 
ceeded, with the arm of Venetia locked in his and ever and 
anon unconsciously pressing it to his heart. The rosy 
twilight had faded away, the stars were stealing forth, and 
the moon again glittered. With a soul softer than the 
tinted shades of eve and glowing like the heavens, Cadurcis 
joined his companions as they entered the gardens of Cher- 
bury. When they had arrived at home it seemed that ex- 
haustion had suddenly succeeded all the excitement of the 
day. The Doctor, who was wearied, retired immediately. 
Lady Annabel pressed Cadurcis to remain and take tea, or, 
at least to ride home ; but his lordship, protesting that he 
was not in the slightest degree fatigued, and anticipating 
their speedy union on the morrow, bade her good night, 
and pressing with fondness the hand of Venetia, retraced 
his steps to the now solitary abbey. 



CHAPTER VII. 

CADURCIS returned to the abbey, but not to slumber. That 
love of loneliness which had haunted him from his boyhood, 
and which ever asserted its sway when under the influence 
of his passions, came over him now with irresistible power. 
A day of enjoyment had terminated, and it left him melan- 
choly. Hour after hour he paced the moon-lit cloisters of 
his abbey, where not a sound disturbed him, save the mono- 
tonous fall of the fountain, that seems by some inexplicable 
association always to blend with and never to disturb our 
feelings ; gay when we are joyful, and sad amid our sorrow. 
Yet was he sorrowful! He was gloomy, and fell into a 
reverie about himself, a subject to him ever perplexing and 
distressing. His conversation of the morning with Doctor 
Masham recurred to him. What did the Doctor mean by 
his character not being formed, and that he might yet live 



VENETIA. 193 

to change all his opinions ? Character ! what was character ? 
It must be will ; and his will was violent and firm. Young 
as he was, he had early habituated himself to reflection, 
and the result of his musings had been a desire to live 
away from the world with those he loved. The Avorld, as 
other men viewed it, had no charms for him. Its pursuits 
and passions seemed to him on the whole paltry and faint. 
He could sympathise with great deeds, but not with bust- 
ling life. That which was common did not please him. 
He loved things that were rare and strange ; and the spell 
that bound him so strongly to Yenetia Herbert was her 
unusual life, and the singular circumstances of her destiny 
that were not unknown to him. True he was young ; but, 
lord of himself, youth was associated with none of those 
mortifications which make the juvenile pant for manhood. 
Cadurcis valued his youth and treasured it. He could not 
conceive love, and the romantic life that love should lead, 
without the circumambient charm of youth adding fresh 
lustre to all that was bright and fair, and a keener relish 
to every combination of enjoyment. The moonbeam fell 
upon his mother's monument, a tablet on the cloister wall 
that recorded the birth and death of KATHERIXE CADURCIS. 
His thoughts flew to his ancestry. They had conquered in 
France and Palestine, and left a memorable name to the 
annalist of his country. Those days were past, and yet 
Cadurcis felt within him the desire, perhaps the power, of 
emulating them ; but what remained ? What career was 
open in this mechanical age to the chivalric genius of his 
race ? Was he misplaced then in life ? The applause of 
nations, there was something grand and exciting in such a 
possession. To be the marvel of mankind what would ho 
not hazard ? Dreams, dreams ! If his ancestors were 
valiant and celebrated it remained for him to rival, to excel 
them, at least in one respect. Their coronet had never 
rested on a brow fairer than the one for which he destined 
it. Venetia then, independently of his passionate love, was 





194 VENETIA. 

the only apparent object worth his pursuit, the only thing 
in this world that had realised his dreams, dreams sacred 
to his own musing soul, that even she had never shared or 
guessed. And she, she was to be his. He could not doubt 
it : but to-morrow would decide ; to-morrow would seal his 
triumph. 

His sleep was short and restless; he had almost out- 
watched the stars, and yet he rose with the early morn. 
His first thought was of Venetia ; he was impatient for the 
interview, the interview she promised and even proposed. 
The fresh air was grateful to him ; he bounded along to 
Cherbnry, and brushed the dew in his progress from the 
tall grass and shrubs. In sight of the hall, he for a 
moment paused. He was before his accustomed hour; 
and yet he was always too soon. Not to-day, though, not 
to-day ; suddenly he rushes forward and .springs down the 
green vista, for Venetia is on the terrace, and alone ! 

Always kind, this morning she greeted him with unusual 
affection. Never had she seemed to him so exquisitely 
beautiful. Perhaps her countenance to-day was more pale 
than wont. There seemed a softness in her eyes usually 
so brilliant and even dazzling ; the accents of her saluta- 
tion were suppressed and tender. 

' I thought you would be here early,' she remarked, ' and 
therefore I rose to meet yon.' 

Was he to infer from this artless confession that his 
image had haunted her in her dreams, or only that she 
would not delay the conversation on which his happiness 
depended ? He could scarcely doubt which version to 
adopt when she took his arm and led him from the terrace 
to walk where they could not be disturbed. 

' Dear Plantagenet,' she said, ' for indeed you are very 
dear to me ; I told you last night that I would speak to 
you to-day on your wishes, that are so kind to me and so 
much intended for my happiness. I do not love suspense ; 
but indeed last night I was too much surprised, too much 
overcome by what occurred, that, exhausted as I naturally 



VENETIA. 195 

was by all our pleasure, I could not tell you what I wished ; 
indeed I could not, dear Plantagenet.' 

' My own Venetia ! ' 

' So I hope you will always deem me ; for I should be 
very unhappy if you did not love me, Plantagenet, more 
unhappy than I have even been these last two years ; and 
I have been very unhappy, very unhappy indeed, Plan- 
tagenet.' 

' Unhappy, Venetia! my Yenetia unhappy ?' 

'Listen! I will not weep. I can control my feelings. I 
have learnt to do this ; it is very sad, and very different to 
what my life once was ; but I can do it.' 

' You amaze me ! ' 

Venetia sighed, and then resumed, but in a tone mourn- 
ful and low, and yet to a degree firm. 

' You have been away five years, Plantagenet.' 

' But you have pardoned that.' 

' I never blamed you ; I had nothing to pardon. It was 
well for you to be away ; and I rejoice your absence has 
been so profitable to you.' 

' But it was wicked to have been so silent.' 

'Oh! no, no, no! Such ideas never entered into my 
head, nor even mamma's. You were very young ; you did 
as all would, as all must do. Harbour not such thoughts. 
Enough, you have returned and love us yet.' 

'Love! adore!' 

' Five years are a long space of time, Plantagenet. 
Events will happen in five years, even at Cherbury. I told 
you I was changed.' 

' Yes ! ' said Lord Cadurcis, in a voice of some anxiety, 
with a scrutinising eye. 

' You left me a happy child ; you find me a woman, and 
a miserable one.' 

' Good God, Venetia ! this suspense is awful. Be brief, I 
pray you. Has any one ' 

Venetia looked at him with an air of perplexity. She 
o 2 



196 VENETIA. 

could not comprehend the idea that impelled his inter- 
ruption. 

' Go on,' Lord Cadurcis added, after a short pause ; ' I 
am indeed all anxiety.' 

' You remember that Christmas which you passed at the 
hall and walking at night in the gallery, and ' 

' Well ! Your mother, I shall never forget it.' 

' You found her weeping when you were once at Marring- 
hurst. You told me of it.' 

'Ay, ay!' 

' There is a wing of our house shut up. We often talked 
of it.' 

' Often, Venetia ; it was a mystery.' 

' I have penetrated it,' replied Venetia in a solemn tone ; 
' and never have I known what happiness is since.' 

' Yes, yes ! ' said Lord Cadurcis, very pale, and in a 
whisper. 

' Plantagenet, I have a father.' 

Lord Cadurcis started, and for an instant his arm quitted 
Venetia's. At length he said in a gloomy voice, 'I know it.' 

' Know it ! ' exclaimed Venetia with astonishment. 'Who 
could have told you the secret ? ' 

' It is no seci'et,' replied Cadurcis ; ' would that it were ! ' 

' Would that it were ! How strange you speak, how 
strange you look, Plantagenet ! If it be no secret that I 
have a father, why this concealment then ? I know that I 
am not the child of shame ! ' she added, after a moment's 
pause, with an air of pride. A tear stole down the cheek 
of Cadurcis. 

' Plantagenet ! dear, good Plantagenet ! my brother ! my 
own brother ! see, I kneel to you ; Venetia kneels to you ! 
your own Venetia ! Venetia that you love ! Oh ! if you 
knew the load that is on my spirit bearing me down to a 
grave which I would almost welcome, you would speak to 
me ; you would tell me all. I have sighed for this ; I have 
longed for this ; I have prayed for this. To meet some one 
who would speak to me of my father ; who had heard of 



VENETIA. 197 

him, who knew him ; has been for years the only thought 
of my being, the only object for which I existed. And now, 
here comes Plantagenet, my brother ! my own brother ! and 
he knows all, and he will tell me ; yes, that he will ; he will 
tell his Venetia all, all ! ' 

' Is there not your mother ? ' said Lord Cadurcis, in a 
broken tone. 

' Forbidden, utterly forbidden. If I speak, they tell me 
her heart will break ; and therefore mine is breaking.' 

' Have you no friend ? ' 

' Are not you my friend ? ' 

' Doctor Masham ? ' 

' I have applied to him ; he tells me that he lives, and 
then he shakes his head.' 

'You never saw your father; think not of him.' 

' Not think of him! ' exclaimed Venetia, with extraordinary 
energy. ' Of what else ? For what do I live but to think 
of him ? What object have I in life but to see him ? I have 
seen him, once.' 

'Ah!' 

' I know his form by heart, and yet it was but a shade. 
Oh, what a shade ! what a glorious, what an immortal 
shade ! If gods were upon earth they would be like my 
father ! ' 

' His deeds, at least, are not godlike,' observed Lord 
Cadurcis dryly, and with some bitterness. 

' I deny it ! ' said Venetia, her eyes sparkling with fire, 
her form dilated with enthusiasm, and involuntarily with- 
drawing her arm from her companion. Lord Cadurcis 
looked exceedingly astonished. 

'You deny it ! ' he exclaimed. 'And what should you 
know about it ? ' 

' Nature whispers to me that nothing but what is grand 
and noble could be breathed by those lips, or fulfilled by 
that form.' 

'I am glad you have not read his works,' said Lord 
Cadurcis, with increased bitterness. 'As for his conduct, 



198 VENETIA. 

your mother is a living evidence of his honour, his gene- 
rosity, and his virtue.' 

' My mother ! ' said Venetia, in. a softened voice ; ' and 
yet he loved my mother ! ' 

' She "was his victim, as a thousand others may have 
been.' 

' She is his wife ! ' replied Venetia, with some anxiety. 

' Yes, a deserted wife ; is that preferable to being a 
cherished mistress ? More honourable, but scarcely less 
humiliating.' 

' She must have misunderstood him,' said Venetia. ' I 
have perused the secret vows of his passion. I have read his 
praises of her beauty. I have pored over the music of his 
emotions when he first became a father ; yes, he has gazed 
on me, even though but for a moment, with love ! Over 
me he has breathed forth the hallowed blessing of a parent ! 
That transcendent form has pressed his lips to mine, and 
held me with fondness to his heart ! And shall I credit 
aught to his dishonour ? Is there a being in existence who 
can persuade me he is heartless or abandoned ? No ! I 
love him ! I adore him ! I am devoted to him with all the 
energies of my being ! I live only on the memory that he 
lives, and, were he to die, I should pray to my God that I 
might join him without delay in a world where it cannot 
be justice to separate a child from a father.' 

And this was Venetia ! the fair, the serene Venetia ! the 
young, the inexperienced Venetia ! pausing, as it were, on 
the parting threshold of girlhood, whom, but a few hours 
since, he had fancied could scarcely have proved a passion ; 
who appeared to him barely to comprehend the meaning of 
his advances ; for whose calmness or whose coldness he had 
consoled himself by the flattering conviction of her unknow- 
ing innocence. Before him stood a beautiful and inspired 
Moanad, her eye flashing supernatural fire, her form elevated 
above her accustomed stature, defiance on her swelling brow, 
and passion on her quivering lip ! 

Gentle and sensitive as Cadurcis ever appeared to those 



VENETIA. 199 

he loved, there was in his soul a deep and unfathomed well 
of passions that had been never stirred, and a bitter and 
mocking spirit in his brain, of which he was himself un- 
conscious. He had repaired this hopeful morn to Cherbury 
to receive, as he believed, the plighted faith of a simple and 
affectionate, perhaps grateful, girl. That her unsophisti- 
cated and untutored spirit might not receive the advances 
of his heart with an equal and corresponding ardour, he 
was prepared. It pleased him that he should watch the 
gradual development of this bud of sweet affections, waiting, 
with proud anxiety, her fragrant and her full-blown love. 
But now it appeared that her coldness or her indifference 
might be ascribed to any other cause than the one to which 
he had attributed it, the innocence of an inexperienced 
mind. This girl was no stranger to powerful passions ; she 
could love, and love with fervency, with devotion, with en- 
thusiasm. This child of joy was a woman of deep and 
thoughtful sorrows, brooding in solitude over high resolves 
and passionate aspirations. Why were not the emotions of 
such a tumultuous soul excited by himself? To him she 
was calm and imperturbable ; she called him brother, she 
treated him as a child. But a picture, a fantastic shade, 
could raise in her a tempestuous swell of sentiment that 
transformed her whole mind, and changed the colour of all 
her hopes and thoughts. Deeply prejudiced against her 
father, Cadurcis now hated him, and with a fell and ferocious 
earnestness that few bosoms but his could prove. Pale with 
rage, he ground his teeth and watched her with a glance of 
sarcastic aversion. 

' You led me here to listen to a communication which 
interested me,' he at length said. ' Have I heard it?' 

His altered tone, the air of haughtiness which he assumed, 
were not lost upon Venetia. She endeavoured to collect 
herself, but she hesitated to reply. 

' I repeat my inquiry,' said Cadurcis. ' Have you brought 
me here only to inform me that you have a father, and that 
you adore him, or his picture ? ' 



200 VENETIA. 

' I led you here,' replied Venetia, in a subdued tone, and 
looking on the ground, ' to thank you for your love, and to 
confess to you that I love another.' 

' Love another ! ' exclaimed Cadurcis, in a tone of derision. 
Simpleton ! The best thing your mother can do is to lock 
you up in the chamber with the picture that has produced 
such marvellous effects.' 

'I am no simpleton, Plantagenet,' rejoined Venetia, 
quietly, ' but one who is acting as she thinks right ; and 
not only as her mind, but as her heart prompts her.' 

They had stopped in the earlier part of this conversation 
on a little plot of turf surrounded by shrubs ; Cadurcis 
walked up and down this area with angry steps, occasionally 
glancing at Venetia with a look of mortification and dis- 
pleasure. 

' I tell you, Venetia,' he at length said, ' that you are a 
little fool. What do you mean by saying that you cannot 
marry me because you love another ? Is not that other, 
by your own account, your father ? Love him as much as 
you like. Is that to prevent you from loving your husband 
also ? ' 

' Plantagenet, you are rude, and unnecessarily so,' said 
Venetia. ' I repeat to you again, and for the last time, 
that all my heart is my father's. It would be wicked in me 
to marry you, because I cannot love you as a husband should 
be loved. I can never love you as I love my father. How- 
ever, it is useless to talk upon this subject. I have not 
even the power of marrying you if I wished, for I have 
dedicated myself to my father in the name of God ; and I 
have offered a vow, to be registered in heaven, that thence- 
forth I would exist only for the purpose of being restored 
to his heart.' 

' I congratulate you on your parent, Miss Herbert.' 

' I feel that I ought to be proud of him, though, alas ! I 
can only feel it. But, whatever your opinion may be of my 
father, I beg you to remember that you are speaking to his 
child.' 



VENETIA. 201 

' I stall state my opinion respecting your father, madam, 
with the most perfect unreserve, wherever and whenever I 
choose ; quite convinced that, however you esteem that 
opinion, it will not be widely different from the real senti- 
ments of the only parent whom you ought to respect, and 
whom you are bound to obey.' 

' And I can tell you, sir, that whatever your opinion is 
on any subject it will never influence mine. If, indeed, I 
were the mistress of my own destiny, which I am not, it 
would have been equally out of my power to have acted as 
you have so singularly proposed. I do not wish to marry, 
and marry I never will ; but were it in my power, or in ac- 
cordance with my wish, to unite my fate for ever with 
another's, it should at least be with one to whom I could 
look up with reverence, and even with admiration. He 
should be at least a man, and a great man ; one with whose 
name the world rung ; perhaps, like my father, a genius and 
a poet.' 

' A genius and a poet ! ' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis, in a 
fury, stamping with passion ; ' are these fit terms to use 
when speaking of the most abandoned profligate of his age ? 
A man whose name is synonymous with infamy, and which 
no one dares to breathe in civilised life ; whose very blood 
is pollution, as you will some day feel ; who has violated 
every tie, and derided every principle, by which society is 
maintained ; whose life is a living illustration of his own 
shameless doctrines ; who is, at the same time, a traitor to 
his king and an apostate from his God ! ' 

Curiosity, overpowering even indignation, had permitted 
Venetia to listen even to this tirade. Pale as her com- 
panion, but with a glance of withering scorn, she ex- 
claimed, ' Passionate and ill-mannered boy ! words cannot 
express the disgust and the contempt with which you in- 
spire me.' She spoke and she disappeared. Cadurcis was 
neither able nor desirous to arrest her flight. He remained 
rooted to the ground, muttering to himself the word ' boy ! ' 
Suddenly raising his arm and looking up to the sky, he ex- 



202 VENETIA. 

claimed, ' The illusion is vanished ! Farewell, Cherbnry ! 
farewell, Cadurcis ! a wider theatre awaits me ! I have 
been too long the slave of soft affections ! I root them out 
of my heart for ever ! ' and, fitting the action to the phrase, 
it seemed that he hurled upon the earth all the tender 
emotions of his soul. ' Woman ! henceforth you shall be 
my sport ! I have now no feeling but for myself. When 
she spoke I might have been a boy ; I am a boy no longer. 
What I shall do I know not ; but this I know, the world 
shall ring with my name ; I will be a man, and a great 
man ! ' 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE agitation of Venetia on her return was not unnoticed 
by her mother; but Lady Annabel ascribed it to a far 
different cause than the real one. She was rather sur- 
prised when the breakfast passed, and Lord Cadurcis did 
not appear ; somewhat perplexed when her daughter seized 
the earliest opportunity of retiring to her own chamber ; 
but, with that self-restraint of which she was so complete a 
mistress, Lady Annabel uttered no remark. 

Once more alone, Venetia could only repeat to herself 
the wild words that had burst from Plantagenet's lips in 
reference to her father. What could they mean ? His 
morals might be misrepresented, his opinions might be mis- 
understood ; stupidity might not comprehend his doctrines, 
malignity might torture them ; the purest sages have been 
accused of immorality, the most pious philosophers have 
been denounced as blasphemous : but, ' a traitor to his 
king,' that was a tangible, an intelligible proposition, one 
with which all might grapple, which could be easily dis- 
proved if false, scarcely propounded were it not true. 
'False to his God!' How false? Where? When? 
What mystery involved her life ? Unhappy girl ! in vain 
she struggled with the overwhelming burden of her sor- 
rows. Now she regretted that she had quarrelled with 



VENETIA. 203 

Cadurcis ; it was evident that he knew everything and 
would have told her all. And then she blamed him for his 
harsh and unfeeling demeanour, and his total want of sym- 
pathy with her cruel and perplexing situation. She had 
intended, she had struggled to be so kind to him ; she 
thought she had such a plain tale to tell that he would 
have listened to it in considerate silence, and bowed to her 
necessary and inevitable decision without a murmur. Amid 
all these harassing emotions her mind tossed about like a 
ship without a rudder, until, in her despair, she almost re- 
solved to confess everything to her mother, and to request 
her to soothe and enlighten her agitated and confounded 
mind. But what hope was there of solace or information 
from such a quarter ? Lady Annabel's was not a mind to 
be diverted from her purpose. Whatever might have been 
the conduct of her husband, it was evident that Lady 
Annabel had traced out a course from which she had re- 
solved not to depart. She remembered the earnest and 
repeated advice of Dr. Masham, that virtuous and intelli- 
gent man who never advised anything but for their benefit. 
How solemnly had he enjoined upon her never to speak to 
her mother upon the subject, unless she wished to produce 
misery and distress ! And what could her mother tell her ? 
Her father lived, he had abandoned her, he was looked 
upon as a criminal, and shunned by the society whose laws 
and prejudices he had alike outraged. Why should she 
revive, amid the comparative happiness and serenity in 
which her mother now lived, the bitter recollection of the 
almost intolerable misfortune of her existence ? No ! 
Venetia was resolved to be a solitary victim. In spite of 
her passionate and romantic devotion to her father she 
loved her mother with perfect affection, the mother who 
had dedicated her life to her child, and at least hoped she 
had spared her any share in their common tmhappiness. 
And this father, whose image haunted her dreams, whose 
unknown voice seemed sometimes to float to her quick ear 
upon the wind, could he be that abandoned being that 



204 VENETIA. 

Cadurcis had described, and that all around her, and all 
the circumstances of her life, would seem to indicate ? 
Alas ! it might be truth ; alas ! it seemed like truth : and 
for one so lost, so utterly irredeemable, was she to murmur 
against that pure and benevolent parent who had cherished 
her with such devotion, and snatched her perhaps from 
disgrace, dishonour, and despair ! 

And Cadurcis, would he return ? With all his violence, 
the kind Cadurcis ! Never did she need a brother more 
than now ; and now he was absent, and she had parted 
with him in anger, deep, almost deadly : she, too, who had 
never before uttered a harsh word to a human being, who 
had been involved in only one quarrel in her life, and that 
almost unconsciously, and which had nearly broken her 
heart. She wept, bitterly she wept, this poor Venetia ! 

By one of those mental efforts which her strange lot 
often forced her to practise, Venetia at length composed 
herself, and returned to the room where she believed she 
would meet her mother, and hoped she should see Cadurcis. 
He was not there : but Lady Annabel was seated as calm 
and busied as usual ; the Doctor had departed. Even his 
presence would have proved a relief, however slight, to 
Venetia, who dreaded at this moment to be alone with her 
mother. She had no cause, however, for alarm ; Lord 
Cadurcis never appeared, and was absent even from dinner ; 
the day died away, and still he was wanting ; and at length 
Venetia bade her usual good night to Lady Annabel, and 
received her usual blessing and embrace without his name 
having been even mentioned. 

Venetia passed a disturbed night, haunted by painful 
dreams, in which her father and Cadurcis were both mixed 
up, and with images of pain, confusion, disgrace, and misery; 
but the morrow, at least, did not prolong her suspense, for 
just as she had joined her mother at breakfast, Mistress 
Pauncefort, who had been despatched on some domestic 
mission by her mistress, entered with a face of wonder, and 
began as usual : ' Only think, my lady ; well to be sure, who 



VENETIA. 205 

would have thought it ? I am quite confident, for my own 
part, I was quite taken aback when I heard it ; and I could 
not have believed my ears, if John had not told me himself, 
and he had it from his lordship's own man.' 

' Well, Pauncefort, what have you to say ? ' inquired Lady 
Annabel, very calmly. 

' And never to send no note, my lady ; at least I have not 
seen one come up. That makes it so very strange.' 

' Makes what, Pauncefort ? ' 

' Why, my lady, doesn't your la'ship know his lordship 
left the abbey yesterday, and never said nothing to nobody ; 
rode off without a word, by your leave or with your leave ? 
To be sure he always was the oddest young gentleman as 
ever I met with ; and, as I said to John : John, says I, I hope 
his lordship has not gone to join the gipsies again.' 

Venetia looked into a teacup, and then touched an egg, 
and then twirled a spoon ; but Lady Annabel seemed quite 
imperturbable, and only observed, ' Probably his guardian 
is ill, and he has been suddenly summoned to town. I wish 
you would bring my knitting-needles, Pauncefort.' 

The autumn passed, and Lord Cadurcis never returned to 
the abbey, and never wrote to any of his late companions. 
Lady Annabel never mentioned his name ; and although she 
seemed to have no other object in life but the pleasure and 
happiness of her child, this strange mother never once 
consulted Venetia on the probable occasion of his sudden 
departure, and his strange conduct. 



EXD OF BOOK III. 



206 VENETIA. 



BOOK IV. 



CHAPTER I. 

PARTY feeling, perhaps, never ran higher in England than 
during the period immediately subsequent to the expulsion 
of the Coalition Ministry. After the indefatigable faction of 
the American war, and the flagrant union with Lord North, 
the Whig party, and especially Charles Fox, then in the full 
vigour of his bold and ready mind, were stung to the quick 
that all their remorseless efforts to obtain and preserve the 
government of the country should terminate in the prefer- 
ment and apparent permanent power of a mere boy. 

Next to Charles Fox, perhaps the most eminent and in- 
fluential member of the Whig party was Lady Monteagle. 
The daughter of one of the oldest and most powerful peers 
in the kingdom, possessing lively talents and many fasci- 
nating accomplishments, the mistress of a great establish- 
ment, very beautiful, and, although she had been married 
some years, still young, the celebrated wife of Lord Mont- 
eagle found herself the centre of a circle alike powerful, 
brilliant, and refined. She was the Muse of the Whig party, 
at whose shrine every man of wit and fashion was proud to 
offer his flattering incense ; and her house became not merely 
the favourite scene of their social pleasures, but the sacred 
temple of their political rites ; here many a manoeuvre was 
planned, and many a scheme suggested ; many a convert en- 
rolled, and many a votary initiated. 

Reclining on a couch in a boudoir, which she was assured 
was the exact facsimile of that of Marie Antoinette, Lady 
Monteagle, with an eye sparkling with excitement and a 
cheek flushed with emotion, appeared deeply interested in a 



VENETIA. 207 

volume, from which she raised her head as her husband 
entered the room. 

' Gertrude, my love,' said his lordship, ' I have asked the 
new bishop to dine with us to-day.' 

'My dear Henry,' replied her ladyship, ' what could in- 
duce you to do anything so strange ? ' 

' I suppose I have made a mistake, as usual,' said his lord - 
ship, shrugging his shoulders, with a smile. 

' My dear Henry, you know you may ask whomever you 
like to your house. I never find fault with what you do. 
But what could induce you to ask a Tory bishop to meet a 
dozen of our own people ? ' 

' I thought I had done wrong directly I had asked him,' 
rejoined his lordship ; ' and yet he would not have come if I 
had not made such a point of it. I think I will put him off.' 

' No, my love, that would be wrong ; you cannot do that.' 

' I cannot think how it came into my head. The fact is, 
I lost my presence of mind. You know he was my tutor 
at Christchurch, when poor dear Herbert and I were such 
friends, and very kind he was to us both ; and so, the 
moment I saw him, I walked across the House, introduced 
myself, and asked him to dinner.' 

' Well, never mind,' said Lady Monteagle, smiling. ' It 
is rather ridiculous : but I hope nothing will be said to 
offend him.' 

' Oh ! do not be alarmed about that : he is quite a man 
of the world, and, although he has his opinions, not at all a 
partisan. I assure you poor dear Herbert loved him to the 
last, and to this very moment has the greatest respect and 
affection for him.' 

' How very strange that not only your tutor, but Herbert's, 
should be a bishop,' remarked the lady, smiling. 

' It is very strange,' said his lordship, ' and it only shows 
that it is quite useless in this world to lay plans, or reckon 
on anything. You know how it happened ? ' 

' Not I, indeed ; I have never given a thought to the 
business ; I only remember being very vexed that that 



208 VENET1A. 

stupid old Bangerford should not have died when we were 
in office, and then, at any rate, we should have got another 
vote.' 

' Well, you know,' said his lordship, ' dear old Masham, 
that is his name, was at Weymouth this year ; with whom 
do you think, of all people in the world ? ' 

' How should I know ? Why should I think about it, 
Henry?' 

' Why, with Herbert's wife.' 

* What, that horrid woman ? ' 

' Yes, Lady Annabel.' 

' And where was his daughter ? Was she there ? 

' Of course. She has grown up, and a most beautiful 
creature they say she is ; exactly like her father.' 

' Ah ! I shall always regret I never saw him,' said her 
ladyship. 

' Well, the daughter is in bad health ; and so, after keep- 
ing her shut up all her life, the mother was obliged to take 
her to Weymouth ; and Masham, who has a living in their 
neighbourhood, which, by-the-bye, Herbert gave him, and 
is their chaplain and counsellor, and friend of the family, 
and all that sort of thing, though I really believe he has 
always acted for the best, he was with them. Well, tho 
King took the greatest fancy to these Herberts ; and the 
Queen, too, quite singled them out ; and, in short, they 
were always with the royal family. It ended by his 
Majesty making Masham his chaplain ; and now he has 
made him a bishop.' 

'Very droll indeed,' said her ladyship ; ' and the drollest 
thing of all is, that he is now coming to dine here.' 

' Have you seen Cadurcis to-day ? ' said Lord Monteagle. 

' Of course,' said her ladyship. 

' He dines here ? ' 

' To be sure. I am reading his new poem ; it will not be 
published till to-morrow.' 

' Is it good ? ' 

' Good ! What crude questions you do always ask, 



VENETIA. 209 

Henry ! ' exclaimed Lady Monteagle. ' Good ! Of course 
it is good. It is something better than good.' 

' But I mean is it as good as his other things ? Will it 
make as much noise as his last thing ? ' 

' Thing ! Now, Henry, you know very well that if there 
be anythingl dislike in the world, it is calling a poem athing.' 

' Well, my dear, you know I am no judge of poetry. 
But if you are pleased, I am quite content. There is a 
knock. Some of your friends. I am off. I say, Gertrude, 
be kind to old Masham, that is a dear creature ! ' 

Her ladyship extended her hand, to which his lordship 
pressed his lips, and just effected his escape as the servant 
announced a visitor, in the person of Mr. Horace Pole. 

' Oh ! my dear Mr. Pole, I am quite exhausted,' said her 
ladyship ; ' I am reading Cadurcis' new poem ; it will not 
be published till to-morrow, and it really has destroyed my 
nerves. I have got people to dinner to-day, and I am sure 
I shall not be able to encounter them.' 

' Something outrageous, I suppose,' said Mr. Pole, with 
a sneer. ' I wish Cadurcis "would study Pope.' 

' Study Pope ! My dear Mr. Pole, you have no imagin- 
ation.' 

' No, I have not, thank Heaven ! ' drawled out Mr. Pole. 

' Well, do not let us have a quarrel about Cadurcis,' said 
Lady Monteagle. ' All you men are jealous of him.' 

'And some of you women, I think, too,' said Mr. Pole. 

Lady Monteagle faintly smiled. 

' Poor Cadurcis ! ' she exclaimed ; ' he has a very hard 
life of it. He complains bitterly that so many women are 
in love with him. But then he is such an interesting 
creature, what can he expect ? ' 

' Interesting ! ' exclaimed Mr. Pole. ' Now I hold he is 
the most conceited, affected fellow that I ever met,' he con- 
tinued with unusual energy. 

' Ah ! you men do not understand him,' said Lady Mont- 
eagle, shaking her head. ' You cannot,' she added, with 
a look of pity. 



210 VENET1A. 

' I cannot, certainly,' said Mr. Pole, ' or his writings 
either. For my part I think the town has gone mad.' 

' Well, you must confess,' said her ladyship, with a glance 
of triumph, ' that it was very lucky for us that I made 
him a Whig.' 

' I cannot agree with you at all on that head,' said Mr. 
Pole. 'We certainly are not very popular at this moment, 
and I feel convinced that a connection with a person who 
attracts so much notice as Cadurcis unfortunately does, and 
whose opinions on morals and religion must be so offensive 
to the vast majority of the English public, must ultimately 
prove anything but advantageous to our party.' 

' Oh ! my dear Mr. Pole,' said her ladyship, in a tone of 
affected deprecation, ' think what a genius he is ! ' 

' We have very different ideas of genius, Lady Monteagle, 
I suspect,' said her visitor. 

' Tou cannot deny,' replied her ladyship, rising from her 
recumbent posture, with some animation, ' that he is a poet? ' 

' It is difficult to decide upon our contemporaries,' said 
Mr. Pole dryly. 

' Charles Fox thinks he is the greatest poet that ever 
existed,' said her ladyship, as if she were determined to 
settle the question. 

' Because he has written a lampoon on the royal family,' 
rejoined Mr. Pole. 

' You are a very provoking person,' said Lady Mont- 
eagle ; ' but you do not provoke me ; do not flatter yourself 
you do.' 

' That I feel to be an achievement alike beyond my power 
and my ambition,' replied Mr. Pole, slightly bowing, but 
with a sneer. 

' Well, read this,' said Lady Monteagle, ' and then decide 
upon the merits of Cadurcis.' 

Mr. Pole took the extended volume, but with no great 
willingness, and turned over a page or two and read a pas- 
sage here and there. 

' Much the same as his last effusion, I think,' he observed, 



VENETIA. 211 

' as far as I can judge from so cursory a review. Exag- 
gerated passion, bombastic language, egotism to excess, and, 
which perhaps is the only portion that is genuine, mixed 
with common-place scepticism and impossible morals, and a 
sort of vague, dreamy philosophy, which, if it mean any- 
thing, means atheism, borrowed from his idol, Herbert, and 
which he himself evidently does not comprehend.' 

' Monster ! ' exclaimed Lady Monteagle, with a mock as- 
sumption of indignation, ' and you are going to dine with 
him here to-day. You do not deserve it.' 

' It is a reward which is unfortunately too often obtained 
by me,' replied Mr. Pole. ' One of the most annoying con- 
sequences of your friend's popularity, Lady Monteagle., is 
that there is not a dinner party where one can escape him. 
I met him yesterday at Fanshawe's. He amused himself by 
eating only biscuits, and calling for soda water, while we 
quaffed our Burgundy. How very original ! What a thing 
it is to be a great poet ! ' 

' Perverse, provoking mortal ! ' exclaimed Lady Mont- 
eagle. ' And on what should a poet live ? On coarse food, 
like you coarse mortals ? Cadurcis is all spirit, and in my 
opinion his diet only makes him more interesting.' 

' I understand,' said Mr. Pole, ' that he cannot endure a 
woman to eat at all. But you are all spirit, Lady Mont- 
eagle, and therefore of course are not in the least incon- 
venienced. By-the-bye, do you mean to give us any of those 
charming little suppers this season ? ' 

' I shall not invite you,' replied her ladyship ; 'none but 
admirers of Lord Cadurcis enter this house.' 

'Your menace effects my instant conversion,' replied 
Mr. Pole. ' I will admire him as much as you desire, only 
do not insist upon my reading his works.' 

' I have not the slightest doubt you know them by heart,' 
rejoined her ladyship. 

Mr. Pole smiled, bowed, and disappeared ; and Lady 
Monteagle sat down to write a billet to Lord Cadurcis, to 
entreat him to be with her at five o'clock, which was at 

p 2 



212 VENETIA. 

least half an hour before the other guests were expected. 
The Monteagles were considered to dine ridiculously late. 



CHAPTER II. 

MAKMION HERBERT, sprung from one of the most illustrious 
families in England, became at an early age the inheritor 
of a great estate, to which, however, he did not succeed 
with the prejudices or opinions usually imbibed or professed 
by the class to which he belonged. While yet a boy, Mar- 
mioii Herbert afforded many indications of possessing a 
mind alike visionary and inquisitive, and both, although 
not in an equal degree, sceptical and creative. Nature had 
gifted him with precocious talents ; and with a temperament 
essentially poetic, he was nevertheless a great student. 
His early reading, originally by accident and afterwards by 
an irresistible inclination, had fallen among the works of 
the English freethinkers : with all their errors, a profound 
and vigorous race, and much superior to the French philo- 
sophers, who were after all only their pupils and their imi- 
tators. While his juvenile studies, and in some degree the 
predisposition of his mind, had thus prepared him to doubt 
and finally to challenge the propriety of all that was estab- 
lished and received, the poetical and stronger bias of his 
mind enabled him quickly to supply the place of every- 
thing he would remove and destroy ; and, far from being 
the victim of those frigid and indifferent feelings which 
must ever be the portion of the mere doubter, Herbert, on 
the contrary, looked forward with ardent and sanguine en- 
thusiasm to a glorious and ameliorating future, which should 
amply compensate and console a misguided and unhappy 
race for the miserable past and the painful and dreary pre- 
sent. To those, therefore, who could not sympathise with 
his views, it will be seen that Herbert, in attempting to 
fulfil them, became not merely passively noxious from his 
example, but actively mischievous from his exertions. A 



VENETIA. 213 

mere sceptic, he would have been perhaps merely pitied ; a 
sceptic with a peculiar faith of his own, which he was re- 
solved to promulgate, Herbert became odious. A solitary 
votary of obnoxious opinions, Herbert would have been 
looked upon only as a madman ; but thfc moment he at- 
tempted to make proselytes he rose into a conspirator 
against society. 

Young, irresistibly prepossessing in his appearance, with 
great eloquence, crude but considerable knowledge, an 
ardent imagination and a subtle mind, and a generous and 
passionate soul, under any circumstances he must have 
obtained and exercised influence, even if his Creator had 
not also bestowed upon him a spirit of indomitable courage ; 
but these great gifts of nature being combined with acci- 
dents- of fortune scarcely less qualified to move mankind, 
high rank, vast wealth, and a name of traditionary glory, 
it will not be esteemed surprising that Marmion Herbert, at 
an early period, should have attracted around him many 
enthusiastic disciples. 

At Christchurch, whither he repaired at an unusually 
early age, his tutor was Doctor Masham ; and the profound 
respect and singular affection with which that able, learned, 
and amiable man early inspired his pupil, for a time con- 
trolled the spirit of Herbert ; or rather confined its work- 
ings to so limited a sphere that the results were neither 
dangerous to society nor himself. Perfectly comprehend- 
ing and appreciating the genius of the youth entrusted to 
his charge, deeply interested in his spiritual as well as 
worldly welfare, and strongly impressed with the impor- 
tance of enlisting his pupil's energies in favour of that 
existing order, both moral and religious, in the truth and 
indispensableness of which he was a sincere believer, Doctor 
Masham omitted no opportunity of combating the heresies 
of the young inquirer ; and as the tutor, equally by talent, 
experience, and learning, was a competent champion of the 
great cause to which he was devoted, his zeal and ability 
for a time checked the development of those opinions of 



214 VENETIA. 

which he witnessed the menacing influence over Herbert 
with so much fear and anxiety. The college life of'Marmion 
Herbert, therefore, passed in ceaseless controversy with his 
tutor ; and as he possessed, among many other noble qua- 
lities, a high and philosophic sense of justice, he did not 
consider himself authorised, while a doubt remained on his 
own mind, actively to promulgate those opinions, of the 
propriety and necessity of which he scarcely ever ceased to 
be persuaded. To this cause it must be mainly attributed 
that Herbert was not expelled the university; for had he 
pursued there the course of which his cruder career at Eton 
had given promise, there can be little doubt that some 
flagrant outrage of the opinions held sacred in that great 
seat of orthodoxy would have quickly removed him from 
the salutary sphere of their control. 

Herbert quitted Oxford in his nineteenth year, yet in- 
ferior to few that he left there, even among the most emi- 
nent, in classical attainments, and with a mind naturally 
profound, practised in all the arts of ratiocination. His 
general knowledge also was considerable, and he was a 
proficient in those scientific pursuits which were then rare. 
Notwithstanding his great fortune and position, his de- 
parture from the university was not a signal with him for 
that abandonment to the world, and that unbounded self- 
enjoyment naturally so tempting to youth. On the con- 
trary, Herbert shut himself up in his magnificent castle, 
devoted to solitude and study. In his splendid library he 
consulted the sages of antiquity, and conferred with them 
on the nature of existence and of the social duties ; while in 
his laboratory or his dissecting-room he occasionally flat- 
tered himself he might discover the great secret which had 
perplexed generations. The consequence of a year passed 
in this severe discipline was unfortunately a complete re- 
currence to those opinions that he had early imbibed, and 
which now seemed fixed in his conviction beyond the hope 
or chance of again faltering. In politics a violent repub- 
lican, and an advocate, certainly a disinterested one, of a 



VENETIA. 215 

complete equality of property and conditions, utterly ob- 
jecting to the very foundation of our moral system, and 
especially a strenuous antagonist of marriage, which he 
taught himself to esteem not only as an unnatural tie, but 
as eminently unjust towards that softer sex, who had been 
so long the victims of man ; discarding as a mockery the 
received revelation of the divine will ; and, if no longer an 
atheist, substituting merely for such an outrageous dogma 
a subtle and shadowy Platonism ; doctrines, however, which 
Herbert at least had acquired by a profound study of the 
works of their great founder ; the pupil of Doctor Masham 
at length deemed himself qualified to enter that world which 
he was resolved to regenerate; prepared for persecution, 
and steeled even to martyrdom. 

But while the doctrines of the philosopher had been 
forming, the spirit of the poet had not been inactive. Lone- 
liness, after all, the best of Muses, had stimulated the 
creative faculty of his being. Wandering amid his solitary 
woods and glades at all hours and seasons, the wild and 
beautiful apparitions of nature had appealed to a sympa- 
thetic soul. The stars and winds, the pensive sunset and 
the sanguine break of morn, the sweet solemnity of night, 
the ancient trees and the light and evanescent flowers, all 
signs and sights and sounds of loveliness and power, fell 
on a ready eye and a responsive ear. Gazing on the beau- 
tiful, he longed to create it. Then it was that the two 
passions which seemed to share the being of Herbert ap- 
peared simultaneously to assert their sway, and he resolved 
to call in his Muse to the assistance of his Philosophy. 

Herbert celebrated that fond world of his imagination, 
which he wished to teach men to love. In stanzas glitter- 
ing with refined images, and resonant with subtle symphony, 
he called into creation that society of immaculate purity 
and unbounded enjoyment which he believed was the na- 
tural inheritance of unshackled man. In the hero he pic- 
tured a philosopher, young and gifted as himself ; in the 
heroine, his idea of a perfect woman. Although all those 



21 G VENETIA. 

peculiar doctrines of Herbert, which, undisguised, must have 
excited so much odium, were more or less developed and in- 
culcated in this work ; nevertheless they were necessarily 
so veiled by the highly spiritual and metaphorical language 
of the poet, that it required some previous acquaintance 
with the system enforced, to be able to detect and recognise 
the esoteric spirit of his Muse. The public read only the 
history of an ideal world and of creatures of exquisite beauty, 
told in language that alike dazzled their fancy and capti- 
vated their ear. They were lost in a delicious maze of 
metaphor and music, and were proud to acknowledge an 
addition to the glorious catalogue of their poets in a young 
and interesting member of their aristocracy. 

In the meanwhile Herbert entered that great world that 
had long expected him, and hailed his advent with triumph. 
How long might have elapsed before they were roused by 
the conduct of Herbert to the error under which they were 
labouring as to his character, it is not difficult to conjec- 
ture ; but before he could commence those philanthropic 
exertions which apparently absorbed him, he encountered 
an individual who most unconsciously put his philosophy 
not merely to the test, but partially even to the rout ; and 
this was Lady Annabel Sidney. Almost as new to the 
world as himself, and not less admired, her unrivalled 
beauty, her unusual accomplishments, and her pure and 
dignified mind, combined, it must be confessed, with the 
flattering admiration of his genius, entirely captivated the 
philosophical antagonist of marriage. It is not surprising 
that Marmion Herbert, scarcely of age, and with a heart of 
extreme susceptibility, resolved, after a struggle, to be the 
first exception to his system, and, as he faintly flattered 
himself, the last victim of prejudice. He wooed and won 
the Lady Annabel. 

The marriage ceremony was performed by Doctor Masham, 
who had read his pupil's poem, and had been a little 
frightened by its indications ; but this happy union had 
dissipated all his fears. He would not believe in any other 



VENETIA. 217 

than a future career for him alike honourable and happy ; 
and he trusted that if any wild thoughts still lingered in 
Herbert's mind, that they would clear off by the same 
literary process ; so that the utmost ill consequences of his 
immature opinions might be an occasional line that the 
wise would have liked to blot, and yet which the unlettered 
might scarcely be competent to comprehend. Mr. and 
Lady Annabel Herbert departed after the ceremony to his 
castle, and Doctor Masham to Marringhurst, a valuable 
living in another county, to which his pupil had just pre- 
sented him. 

Some months after this memorable event, rumours 
reached the ear of the good Doctor that all was not as 
satisfactory as he could desire in that establishment, in the 
welfare of which he naturally took so lively an interest. 
Herbert was in the habit of corresponding with the rector 
of Marringhurst, and his first letters were full of details as 
to his happy life and his perfect content ; but gradually 
these details had been considerably abridged, and the cor- 
respondence assumed chiefly a literary or philosophical 
character. Lady Annabel, however, was always mentioned 
with regard, and an intimation had been duly given to the 
Doctor that she was in a delicate and promising situation, 
and that they were both alike anxious that he should 
christen their child. It did not seem very surprising to 
the good Doctor, who was a man of the world, that a hus- 
band, six months after marriage, should not speak of the 
memorable event with all the fulness and fondness of the 
honeymoon ; and, being one of those happy tempers that 
always anticipate the best, he dismissed from his mind, as 
vain gossip and idle exaggerations, the ominous whispers 
that occasionally reached him. 

Immediately after the Christmas ensuing his marriage, 
the Herberts returned to London, and the Doctor, who 
happened to be a short time in the metropolis, paid them 
a visit. His observations were far from unsatisfactory ; it 
was certainly too evident that Marmion was no longer 



218 VENETIA. 

enamoured of Lady Annabel, but lie treated her apparently 
with courtesy, and even cordiality. The presence of Dr. 
Masham tended, perhaps, a little to revive old feelings, for 
he was as much a favourite with the wife as with the hus- 
band ; but, on the whole, the Doctor quitted them with an 
easy heart, and sanguine that the interesting and impend- 
ing event would, in all probability, revive affection on the 
part of Herbert, or at least afford Lady Annabel the only 
substitute for a husband's heart. 

In due time the Doctor heard from Herbert that his wife 
had gone down into the country, but was sorry to observe 
that Herbert did not accompany her. Even this disagree- 
able impression was removed by a letter, shortly after 
received from Herbert, dated from the castle, and written 
in high spirits, informing him that Annabel had made him 
the happy father of the most beautiful little girl in the 
world. During the ensuing three months Mr. Herbert, 
though he resumed his residence in London, paid frequent 
visits to the castle, where Lady Annabel remained ; and his 
occasional correspondence, though couched in a careless 
vein, still on the whole indicated a cheerful spirit ; though 
ever and anon were sarcastic observations as to the felicity 
of the married state, which, he said, was an undoubted 
blessing, as it kept a man out of all scrapes, though unfor- 
tunately under the penalty of his total idleness and in- 
utility in life. On the whole, however, the reader may 
judge of the astonishment of Doctor Masham when, in 
common with the world, very shortly after the receipt of 
this letter, Mr. Herbert having previously proceeded to 
London, and awaiting, as was said, the daily arrival of his 
wife and child, his former tutor learned that Lady Annabel, 
accompanied only by Pauncefort and Venetia, had sought 
her father's roof, declaring that circumstances had occurred 
which rendered it quite impossible that she could live with 
Mr. Herbert any longer, and entreating his succour and 
parental protection. 

Never was such a hubbub in the world ! In vain Herbert 



VENETIA. 219 

claimed his wife, and expressed his astonishment, declaring 
that he had parted from her with the expression of perfect 
kind feeling on both sides. No answer was given to his 
letter, and no explanation of any kind conceded him. The 
world universally declared Lady Annabel an injured woman, 
and trusted that she would eventually have the good sense 
and kindness to gratify them by revealing the mystery ; 
while Herbert, on the contrary, was universally abused and 
shunned, avoided by his acquaintances, and denounced as 
the most depraved of men. 

In this extraordinary state of affairs Herbert acted in a 
manner the best calculated to secure his happiness, and the 
very worst to preserve his character. Having ostenta- 
tiously shown himself in every public place, and courted 
notice and inquiry by every means in his power, to prove 
that he was not anxious to conceal himself or avoid any 
inquiry, he left the country, free at last to pursue that 
career to which he had always aspired, and in which he 
had been checked by a blunder, from the consequences of 
which he little expected that he should so speedily and 
strangely emancipate himself. It was in a beautiful villa 
on the lake of Geneva that he finally established himself, 
and there for many years he employed himself in the 
publication of a series of works which, whether they were 
poetry or prose, imaginative or investigative, all tended to 
the same consistent purpose, namely, the fearless and un- 
qualified promulgation of those opinions, on the adoption of 
which he sincerely believed the happiness of mankind de- 
pended ; and the opposite principles to which, in his own 
case, had been productive of so much mortification and 
misery. His works, which were published in England, 
were little read, and universally decried. The critics 
were always hard at work, proving that he was no poet, 
and demonstrating in the most logical manner that he was 
quite incapable of reasoning on the commonest topic. In 
addition to all this, his ignorance was self-evident ; and 
though he was very fond of quoting Greek, they doubted 



220 VENETIA. 

whether he was capable of reading the original authors. 
The general impression of the English public, after the 
lapse of some years, was, that Herbert was an abandoned 
being, of profligate habits, opposed to all the institutions of 
society that kept his infamy in check, and an avowed 
atheist ; and as scarcely any one but a sympathetic spirit 
ever read a line he wrote, for indeed the very sight of his 
works was pollution, it is not very wonderful that this 
opinion was so generally prevalent. A calm inquirer 
might, perhaps, have suspected that abandoned profli- 
gacy is not very compatible with severe study, and that 
an author is seldom loose in his life, even if he be licentious 
in his writings. A calm inquirer might, perhaps, have 
been of opinion that a solitary sage may be the antagonist 
of a priesthood without absolutely denying the existence of 
a God ; but there never are calm inquirers. The world, on 
every subject, however unequally, is divided into parties ; 
and even in the case of Herbert and his writings, those who 
admired his genius, and the generosity of his soul, were not 
content without advocating, principally out of pique to his 
adversaries, his extreme opinions on every subject, moral, 
political, and religious. 

Besides, it must be confessed, there was another circum- 
stance which was almost as fatal to Herbert's character in 
England as his loose and heretical opinions. The travelling 
English, during their visits to Geneva, found out that their 
countryman solaced or enlivened his solitude by unhallowed 
ties. It is a habit to which very young men. who are se- 
parated from or deserted by their wives, occasionally have 
recourse. Wrong, no doubt, as most things are, but it is to 
be hoped venial ; at least in the case of any man who is not 
also an atheist. This unfortunate mistress of Herbert was 
magnified into a seraglio ; the most extraordinary tales of 
the voluptuous life of one who generally at his studies out- 
watched the stars, were rife in English society ; and 

Hoary marquises and stripling dukes, 
who were either protecting opera dancers, or, still worse, 



VENETIA. 221 

making love to their neighbours' wives, either looked grave 
when the name of Herbert was mentioned in female society, 
or affectedly confused, as if they could a tale unfold, were 
they not convinced that the sense of propriety among all 
present was infinitely superior to their sense of curiosity. 

The only person to whom Herbert communicated in 
England was Doctor Masham. He wrote to him imme- 
diately on his establishment at Geneva, in a calm yet sincere 
and serious tone, as if it were useless to dwell too fully on 
the past. Yet he declared, although now that it was all 
over he avowed his joy at the interposition of his destiny, 
and the opportunity which he at length possessed of pur- 
suing the career for which he was adapted, that he had to 
his knowledge given his wife no cause of offence which 
could authorise her conduct. As for his daughter, he said 
he should not be so cruel as to tear her from her mother's 
breast ; though, if anything could induce him to such be- 
haviour, it would be the malignant and ungenerous menace 
of his wife's relatives, that they would oppose his preferred 
claim to the guardianship of his child, on the plea of his 
immoral life and atheistical opinions. With reference to 
pecuniary arrangements, as his chief seat was entailed on 
male heirs, he proposed that his wife should take up her 
abode at Cherbury, an estate which had been settled on her 
and her children at her marriage, and which, therefore, 
would descend to Venetia. Finally, he expressed his satis- 
faction that the neighbourhood of Marringhurst would 
permit his good and still faithful friend to cultivate the 
society and guard over the welfare of his wife and daughter. 

During the first ten years of Herbert's exile, for such 
indeed it might be considered, the Doctor maintained with 
him a rare yet regular correspondence ; but after that time 
a public event occurred, and a revolution took place in 
Herbert's life which terminated all communication between 
them ; a termination occasioned, however, by such a simul- 
taneous conviction of its absolute necessity, that it was not 
attended by any of those painful communications which are 



222 VENETIA. 

too often the harrowing forerunners of a formal disruption 
of ancient ties. 

This event was the revolt of the American colonies ; and 
this revolution in Herbert's career, his junction with the 
rebels against his native country. Doubtless it was not 
without a struggle, perhaps a pang, that Herbert resolved 
upon a line of conduct to which it must assuredly have 
required the strongest throb of his cosmopolitan sympathy, 
and his amplest definition of philanthropy to have impelled 
him. But without any vindictive feelings towards Eng- 
land, for he ever professed and exercised charity towards 
his enemies, attributing their conduct entirely to their 
ignorance and prejudice, upon this step he nevertheless 
felt it his duty to decide. There seemed in the opening 
prospects of America, in a world still new, which had bor- 
rowed from the old as it were only so much civilisation as 
was necessary to create and to maintain order ; there seemed 
in the circumstances of its boundless territory, and the 
total absence of feudal institutions and prejudices, so fair a 
field for the practical introduction of those regenerating 
principles to which Herbert had devoted all the thought 
and labour of his life, that he resolved, after long and per- 
haps painful meditation, to sacrifice every feeling and future 
interest to its fulfilment. All idea of ever returning to his 
native country, even were it only to mix his ashes with the 
generations of his ancestors ; all hope of reconciliation with 
his wife, or of pressing to his heart that daughter, often 
present to his tender fancy, and to whose affections he had 
feelingly appealed in an outburst of passionate poetry ; all 
these chances, chances which, in spite of his philosophy, 
had yet a lingering charm, must be discarded for ever. 
They were discarded. Assigning his estate to his heir 
upon conditions, in order to prevent its forfeiture, with, 
such resources as he could command, and which were con- 
siderable, Marmion Herbert arrived at Boston, where his 
rank, his wealth, his distinguished name, his great talents, 
and his undoubted zeal for the cause of liberty, procured 



VENETIA. 223 

him an eminent and gratifying reception. He offered to 
raise a regiment for the republic, and the offer was accepted, 
and he was enrolled among the citizens. All this occurred 
about the time that the Cadurcis family first settled at the 
abbey, and this narrative will probably throw light upon 
several slight incidents which heretofore may have attracted 
the perplexed attention of the reader : such as the news- 
paper brought by Dr. Masham at the Christmas visit ; the 
tears shed at a subsequent period at Marringhurst, when 
he related to her the last intelligence that had been received 
from America. For, indeed, it is impossible to express the 
misery and mortification which this last conduct of her 
husband occasioned Lady Annabel, brought up, as she had 
been, with feelings of romantic loyalty and unswerving 
patriotism. To be a traitor seemed the only blot that 
remained for his sullied scutcheon, and she had never 
dreamed of that. An infidel, a profligate, a deserter from 
his home, an apostate from his God! one infamy alone 
remained, and now he had attained it ; a traitor to his 
king ! Why, every peasant would despise him ! 

General Herbert, however, for such he speedily became, 
at the head of his division, soon arrested the attention, and 
commanded the respect, of Europe. To his exertions the 
successful result of the struggle was, in a great measure, 
attributed; and he received the thanks of Congress, of 
which he became a member. His military and political 
reputation exercised a beneficial influence upon his literary 
fame. His works were reprinted in America, and trans- 
lated into French, and published at Geneva and Basle, 
whence they were surreptitiously introduced into France. 
The Whigs, who had become very factious, and nearly revo- 
lutionary, during the American war, suddenly became proud 
of their countryman, whom a new world hailed as a deliverer, 
and Paris declared to be a great poet and an illustrious 
philosopher. His writings became fashionable, especially 
among the young ; numerous editions of them appeared, 
and in time it was discovered that Herbert was now not 



224 VENETIA. 

only openly read, and enthusiastically admired, but Lad 
founded a school. 

The struggle with America ceased about the time of Lord 
Cadurcis' last visit to Cherbury, when, from his indignant 
lips, Venetia first learnt the enormities of her father's career. 
Since that period some three years had elapsed until we 
introduced our readers to the boudoir of Lady Monteagle. 
During this period, among the Whigs and their partisans 
the literary fame of Herbert had arisen and become esta- 
blished. How they have passed in regard to Lady Annabel 
Herbert and her daughter, on the one hand, and Lord 
Cadurcis himself on the other, we will endeavour to ascer- 
tain in the following chapter. 



CHAPTER III. 

FEOM the last departure of Lord Cadurcis from Cherbury, 
the health of Venetia again declined. The truth is, she 
brooded in solitude over her strange lot, until her nerves 
became relaxed by intense reverie and suppressed feeling. 
The attention of a mother so wrapt up in her child as Lady 
Annabel, was soon attracted to the increasing languor of 
our heroine, whose eye each day seemed to grow less bright, 
and her graceful form less lithe and active. No longer, 
fond of the sun and breeze as a beautiful bird, was Venetia 
seen, as heretofore, glancing in the garden, or bounding 
over the lawns ; too often might she be found reclining on 
the couch, in spite of all the temptations of the spring ; 
while her temper, once so singularly sweet that it seemed 
there was not in. the world a word that could ruffle it, and 
which required so keenly and responded so quickly to 
sympathy, became reserved, if not absolutely sullen, or at 
times even captious and fretful. 

This change in the appearance and demeanour of her 
daughter filled Lady Annabel with anxiety and alarm. In 
vain she expressed to Venetia her conviction of her in- 



VENETIA. 225 

disposition ; but Venetia, though her altered habits con- 
firmed the suspicion, and authorised the inquiry of her 
parent, persisted ever in asserting that she had no ailment. 
Her old medical attendant was, however, consulted, and, 
being perplexed with the case, he recommended change of 
air. Lady Annabel then consulted Dr. Masham, and he 
gave his opinion in favour of change of air for one reason : 
and that was, that it would bring with it what he had long 
considered Venetia to stand in need of, and that was change 
of life. 

Dr. Masham was right ; but then, to guide him in form- 
ing his judgment, he had the advantage of some psycho- 
logical knowledge of the case, which, in a greet degree, was 
a sealed book to the poor puzzled physician. We laugh 
very often at the errors of medical men ; but if we would 
only, when we consult them, have strength of mind enough 
to extend to them something better than a half- confidence, 
we might be cured the sooner. How often, when the un- 
happy disciple of Esculapius is perplexing himself about the 
state of our bodies, we might throw light upon his obscure 
labours by simply detailing to him the state of our minds ! 

The result of these consultations in the Herbert family 
was a final resolution, on the part of Lady Annabel, to quit 
Cherbury for a while. As the sea air was especially re- 
commended to Yenetia, and as Lady Annabel shrank with 
a morbid apprehension from society, to which nothing could 
persuade her she was not an object either of odium or 
impertinent curiosity, she finally resolved to visit Wey- 
mouth, then a small and secluded watering-place, and 
whither she arrived and settled herself, it not being even 
the season when its few customary visitors were in the 
habit of gathering. 

This residence at Weymouth quite repaid Lady Annabel 
for all the trouble of her new settlement, and for the change 
in her life very painful to her confirmed habits, which she 
experienced in leaving for the first time for such a long 
series of years, her old hall ; for the rose returned to the 

Q 



226 VENETIA. 

cheek of her daughter, and the western breezes, joined 
with the influence of the new objects that surrounded her, 
and especially of that ocean, and its strange and inex- 
haustible variety, on which she gazed for the first time, 
gradually, but surely, completed the restoration of Venetia 
to health, and with it to much of her old vivacity. 

When Lady Annabel had resided about a year at Wey- 
mouth, in the society of which she had invariably made the 
indisposition of Venetia a reason for not entering, a great 
revolution suddenly occurred at this little quiet watering- 
place, for it was fixed upon as the summer residence of 
the English court. The celebrated name, the distinguished 
appearance, and the secluded habits of Lady Annabel and 
her daughter, had rendered them the objects of general 
interest. Occasionally they were met in a seaside walk 
by some fellow- wanderer over the sands, or toiler over the 
shingles ; and romantic reports of the dignity of the 
mother and the daughter's beauty were repeated by the 
fortunate observers to the lounging circle of the public 
library or the baths. 

The moment that Lady Annabel was assured that the 
royal family had positively fixed upon Weymouth for their 
- residence, and were even daily expected, she resolved 
instantly to retire. Her stern sense of duty assured her 
that it was neither delicate nor loyal to obtrude before the 
presence of an outraged monarch the wife and daughter of 
a traitor; her haughty, though wounded, spirit shrank 
from the revival of her husband's history, which must be 
the consequence of such a conjunction, and from the 
startling and painful remarks which might reach the 
shrouded ear of her daughter. With her characteristic 
decision, and with her usual stern volition, Lady Annabel 
quitted Weymouth instantly, but she was in some degree 
consoled for the regret and apprehensiveness which she felt 
at thus leaving a place that had otherwise so happily ful- 
filled all her hopes and wishes, and that seemed to agree 
so entirely with Venetia, by finding unexpectedly a marine 



VENETIA. 227 

villa, some few miles further up tke coast, which was tin- 
tenanted, and which offered to Lady Annabel all the ac- 
commodation she could desire. 

It so happened this summer that Dr. Masham paid the 
Herberts a visit, and it was his habit occasionally to ride 
into Weymouth to read the newspaper, or pass an hour in 
that easy lounging chat, which is, perhaps, one of the prin- 
cipal diversions of a watering-place. A great dignitary of 
the church, who was about the Bang, and to whom Dr. 
Masham was known not merely by reputation, mentioned 
his presence to his Majesty ; and the King, who was fond 
of the society of eminent divines, desired that Dr. Masham 
should be presented to him. J^Tow, so favourable was the 
impression that the rector of Marringhurst made upon his 
sovereign, that from that moment the King was scarcely 
ever content unless he was in attendance. His Majesty, 
who was happy in asking questions, and much too acute to 
be baffled when he sought information, finally elicited from 
the Doctor all that, in order to please Lady Annabel, he 
long struggled to conceal ; but when the King found that 
the deserted wife and daughter of Herbert were really living 
in the neighbourhood, and that they had quitted Weymouth 
on his arrival, from a feeling of delicate loyalty, nothing- 
would satisfy the kind-hearted monarch but personally as- 
suring them of the interest he took in their welfare ; and 
accordingly, the next day, without giving Lady Annabel 
even the preparation of a notice, his Majesty and his royal 
consort, attended only by a lord in waiting, called at the 
marine villa, and fairly introduced themselves. 

An acquaintance, occasioned by a sentiment of generous 
and condescending sympathy, was established and strength- 
ened into intimacy, by the personal qualities of those thus 
delicately honoured. The King and Queen werei equally 
delighted with the wife and daughter of the terrible rebel ; 
and although, of course, not an allusion was made to his 
existence, Lady Annabel felt not the less acutely the cause 
to which she was indebted for a notice so gratifying, but 

Q 2 



228 VENETIA. 

which she afterwards ensured by her own. merits. How 
strange are the accidents of life ! Venetia Herbert, who 
had been bred up in unbroken solitude, and whose con- 
verse had been confined to two or three beings, suddenly 
found herself the guest of a king, and the visitor to a 
court ! She stepped at once from solitude into the most 
august circle of society ; yet, though she had enjoyed none 
of that initiatory experience which is usually held so in- 
dispensable to the votaries of fashion, her happy nature 
qualified her to play her part without effort and with 
success. Serene and graceful, she mingled in the strange 
and novel scene, as if it had been for ever her lot to dazzle 
and to charm. Ere the royal family returned to London, 
they extracted from Lady Annabel a compliance with their 
earnest wishes, that she should fix her residence, during 
the ensuing season, in the metropolis, and that she should 
herself present Venetia at St. James's. The wishes of 
kings are commands ; and Lady Annabel, who thus unex- 
pectedly perceived some of the most painful anticipations 
of her solitude at once dissipated, and that her child, in- 
stead of being subjected on her entrance into life to all the 
mortifications she had imagined, would, on the contrary, 
find her first introduction under auspices the most flatter- 
ing and advantageous, bowed a dutiful assent to the con- 
descending injunctions. 

Such were the memorable consequences of this visit to 
Weymouth ! The return of Lady Annabel to the world, 
and her intended residence in the metropolis, while the 
good Masham preceded their arrival to receive a mitre. 
Strange events, and yet not improbable ! 

In the meantime Lord Cadurcis had repaired to the 
university, where his rank and his eccentric qualities 
quickly gathered round him a choice circle of intimates, 
chiefly culled from his old schoolfellows. Of these the 
great majority were his seniors, for whose society the 
maturity of his mind qualified him. It so happened that 
these companions were in general influenced by those liberal 



VENETIA. 229 

opinions -which had become in vogue during the American 
war, and from which Lord Cadurcis had hitherto been 
preserved by the society in which he had previously mingled 
in the house of his guardian. With the characteristic 
caprice and impetuosity of youth, Cadurcis rapidly and 
ardently imbibed all these doctrines, captivated alike by 
their boldness and their novelty. Hitherto the child of 
prejudice, he nattered himself that he was now the creature 
of reason, and, determined to take nothing for granted, he 
soon learned to question everything that was received. A 
friend introduced him to the writings of Herbert, that very 
Herbert whom he had been taught to look upon with so 
much terror and odium. Their perusal operated a com- 
plete revolution of his mind ; and, in little more than a year 
from his flight from Cherbury, he had become an enthu- 
siastic votary of the great master, for his violent abuse of 
whom he had been banished from those happy bowers. 
The courage, the boldness, the eloquence, the imagination, 
the strange and romantic career of Herbert, carried the 
spirit of Cadurcis captive. The sympathetic companions 
studied his works and smiled with scorn at the prejudice 
of which their great model had been the victim, and of 
which they had been so long the dupes. As for Cadurcis, 
he resolved to emulate him, and he commenced his noble 
rivalship by a systematic neglect of all the duties and the 
studies of his college life. His irregular habits procured 
him constant reprimands in which he gloried ; he revenged 
himself on the authorities by writing epigrams, and .by 
keeping a bear, which he declared should stand for a fel- 
lowship. At length, having wilfully outraged the most 
important regulations, he was expelled ; and he made his 
expulsion the subject of a satire equally personal and phi- 
losophic, and which obtained applause for the great talent 
which it displayed, even from those who lamented its want 
of judgment and the misconduct of its writer. Flushed 
with success, Cadnrcis at length found, to his astonishment, 
that Nature had intended him for a poet. He repaired to 



230 VENETIA. 

London, where he was received with open arms by the 
Whigs, whose party he immediately embraced, and where 
he published a poem, in which he painted his own cha- 
racter as the hero, and of which, in spite of all the ex- 
aggeration and extravagance of youth, the genius was 
undeniable. Society sympathised with a young and a noble 
poet ; his poem was read by all parties with enthusiasm ; 
Gadurcis became the fashion. To use his own expression, 
'One morning he awoke, and found himself famous.' 
Young, singularly handsome, with every gift of nature and 
fortune, and with an inordinate vanity that raged in his 
soul, Cadurcis soon forgot the high philosophy that had 
for a moment attracted him, and delivered himself up to 
the absorbing egotism which had ever been latent in his 
passionate and ambitious mind. Gifted with energies that 
few have ever equalled, and fooled to the bent by the ex- 
cited sympathies of society, he poured forth his creative 
and daring spirit with a license that conquered all ob- 
stacles, from the very audacity with which he assailed 
them. In a word, the young, the reserved, and unknown 
Cadurcis, who, but three years back, was to have lived in 
the domestic solitude for which he alone felt himself fitted, 
filled every heart and glittered in every eye. The men 
envied, the women loved, all admired him. His life was a 
perpetual triumph ; a brilliant and applauding stage, on 
which he ever played a dazzling and heroic part. So 
sudden and so startling had been his apparition, so vigorous 
and unceasing the efforts by which he had maintained his 
first overwhelming impression, and not merely by his 
writings, but by his unusual manners and eccentric life, 
that no one had yet found time to draw his breath, to ob- 
serve, to inquire, and to criticise. He had risen, and still 
flamed, like a comet as wild as it was beautiful, and strange 
as it was brilliant. 






VENETIA 231 



CHAPTEE IV. 

WE musi now return to the dinner party at Lord Mont- 
eagle's. When the Bishop of entered the room, he 

found nearly all the expected guests assembled, and was 
immediately presented by his host to the lady of the house, 
who received him with all that fascinating address for which 
she was celebrated, expressing the extreme delight which 
she felt at thus becoming formally acquainted with one 
whom her husband had long taught her to admire and re- 
verence. Utterly unconscious who had just joined the circle, 
while Lord Monteagle was introducing his newly-arrived 
guest to many present, and to all of whom he was unknown 
except by reputation, Lord Cadurcis was standing apart, 
apparently wrapt in his own thoughts ; but the truth is, in 
spite of all the excitement in which he lived, he had diffi- 
culty in overcoming the natural reserve of his disposition. 

' Watch Cadurcis,' said Mr. Horace Pole to a fine lady. 
' Does not he look sublime ? ' 

'Show me him,' said the lady, eagerly. 'I have never 
seen him yet ; I am actually dying to know him. You know 
we have just come to town.' 

' And have caught the raging epidemic, I see,' said Mr. 
Pole, with a sneer. ' However, there is the marvellous young 
gentleman ! " Alone in a crowd, " as he says in his last poem. 
Very interesting ! ' 

* Wonderful creature ! ' exclaimed the dame. 

' Charming ! ' said Mr. Pole. ' If you ask Lady Monteagle, 
she will introduce him to you, and then, perhaps, you will 
be fortunate enough to be handed to dinner by him.' 

' Oh ! how I should like it ! ' 

'You must take care, however, not to eat; he cannot 
endure a woman who eats.' 

' I never do,' said the lady, simply ; ' at least at dinner.' 

' Ah ! then you will quite suit him ; I dare say he will 
write a sonnet to you, and call you Thyrza.' 



232 VENETIA. 

' I wish I could get him to write some lines in my book,' 
said the lady ; ' Charles Fox has written some ; he was 
staying with ns in the autumn, and he has written an ode 
to my little dog.' 

' How amiable ! ' said Mr. Pole ; ' I dare say they are as 
good as his elegy on Mrs. Crewe's cat. But you must not 
talk of cats and dogs to Cadurcis. He is too exalted to 
commemorate any animal less sublime than a tiger or a 
barb.' 

' You forget his beautiful lines on his Newfoundland,' said 
the lady. 

' Very complimentary to us all,' said Mr. Horace Pole. 
* The interesting misanthrope ! ' 

' He looks unhappy.' 

* Very,' said Mr. Pole. ' Evidently something on his con- 
science.' 

' They do whisper very odd things,' said the lady, with 
great curiosity. ' Do you think there is anything in them ? ' 

'Oh! no doubt,' said Mr. Pole; 'look at him; you can 
detect crime in every glance.' 

'Dear me, how shocking ! I think he must be the most 
interesting person that ever lived. I should so like to know 
him ! They say he is so very odd.' 

* Very,' said Mr. Pole. ' He must be a man of genius ; he 
is so unlike everybody ; the very tie of his cravat proves it. 
And his hair, so savage and dishevelled ; none but a man 
of genius would not wear powder. Watch him to-day, and 
you will observe that he will not condescend to perform 
the slightest act like an ordinary mortal. I met him at 
dinner yesterday at Fanshawe's, and he touched nothing 
but biscuits and soda-water. Fanshawe, you know, ia 
famous for his cook. Complimentary and gratifying, was 
it not?' 

' Dear me ! ' said the lady, ' 1 am delighted to see him j 
and yet I hope I shall not sit by him at dinner. I am quite 
afraid of him.' 

' He is really awful ! ' said Mr. Pole. 



VEXETIA. 233 

In the meantime the subject of these observations slowly 
withdrew to the further end of the saloon, apart from every 
one, and threw himself upon a couch with a somewhat dis- 
contented air. Lady Monteagle, whose eye had never left 
him for a moment, although her attentions had been neces- 
sarily commanded by her guests, and who dreaded the silent 
rages in which Cadurcis constantly indulged, and which, 
when once assumed for the day, were with difficulty dissi- 
pated, seized the first opportunity to join and soothe him. 

' Dear Cadurcis,' she said, ' why do you sit here ? Tou 
know I am obliged to speak to all these odious people, and 
it is very cruel of you.' 

' Tou seemed to me to be extremely happy,' replied his 
lordship, in a sarcastic tone. 

' Now, Cadurcis, for Heaven's sake do not play with my 
feelings,' exclaimed Lady Monteagle, in a deprecating tone, 
' Pray be amiable. If I think you are in one of your dark 
humours, it is quite impossible for me to attend to these 
people ; and you know it is the only point on which Mont- 
eagle ever has an opinien ; he insists upon my attending to 
his guests.' 

* If you prefer his guests to me, attend to them.' 

' Now, Cadurcis ! I ask you as a favour, a favour to me, 
only for to-day. Be kind, be amiable, you can if you like ; 
no person can be more amiable ; now, do ! " 

' I am amiable,' said his lordship ; ' I am perfectly satis- 
fied, if you are. You made me dine here.' 

' Now, Cadurcis ! ' 

' Have I not dined here to satisfy you ? 

'Yes ! It was very kind.' 

c But, really, that I should be wearied with all the com- 
monplaces of these creatures who come to eat your hus- 
band's cutlets, is too much,' said his lordship. ' And you, 
Gertrude, what necessity can there be in your troubling 
yourself to amuse people whom you meet every day of your 
life, and who, from the vulgar perversity of society, value 
you in exact proportion as you neglect them ? ' 



234 VENETIA. 

' Yes, but to-day I must be attentive ; for Henry, with 
his usual thoughtlessness, has asked this new bishop to dine 
with us.' 

'The Bishop of ?' inquired Lord Cadurcis, eagerly. 

* Is he coming ? ' 

' He has been in the room this quarter of an hour ? ' 

' What, Masham ! Doctor Masham ! ' continued Lord 
Cadurcis. 

' Assuredly.' 

Lord Cadurcis changed colour, and even sighed. He rose 
rather quickly, and said, ' I must go and speak to him.' 

So, quitting Lady Monteagle, he crossed the room, and 
with all the simplicity of old days, which instantly returned 
on him, those melancholy eyes sparkling with animation, 
and that languid form quick with excitement, he caught 
the Doctor's glance, and shook his extended hand with a 
heartiness which astonished the surrounding spectators, 
accustomed to the elaborate listlessness of his usual 
manner. 

' My dear Doctor ! my dear Lord ! I am glad to say,' said 
Cadurcis, ' this is the greatest and the most unexpected 
pleasure I ever received. Of all persons in the world, you 
are the one whom I was most anxious to meet.' 

The good Bishop appeared not less gratified with the 
rencounter than Cadurcis himself; but, in the midst of 
their mutual congratulations, dinner was announced and 
served ; and, in due order, Lord Cadurcis found himself 
attending that fine lady, whom Mr. Horace Pole had, in 
jest, suggested should be the object of his services ; while 
Mr. Pole himself was seated opposite to him at table. 

The lady, remembering all Mr. Pole's intimations, was 
really much frightened ; she at first could scarcely reply to 
the casual observations of her neighbour, and quite resolved 
not to eat anything. But his lively and voluble conversa- 
tion, his perfectly unaffected manner, and the nonchalance 
with which he helped himself to every dish that was offered 
him, soon reassured her. Her voice became a little firmer, 



VENETIA. 235 

her manner less embarrassed, and she even began medita- 
ting a delicate assault upon a fricassee. 

* Are you going to Ranelagh to-night ? ' inquired Lord 
Cadurcis ; ' I think I shall take a round. There is nothing 
like amusement ; it is the only thing worth living for ; and I 
thank my destiny I am easily amused. We must persuade 
Lady Monteagle to go with us. Let us make a party, and 
return and sup. I like a supper ; nothing in the world 
more charming than a supper, 

A lobster salad, and champagne and chat. 

That is life, and delightful. Why, really, my dear madam, 
you eat nothing. You will never be able to endure the 
fatigues of a Ranelagh campaign on the sustenance of a 
pate. Pole, my good fellow, will you take a glass of wine ? 
We had a pleasant party yesterday at Fanshawe's, and 
apparently a capital dinner. I was sorry that I could not 
play my part ; but I have led rather a raking life lately. 
We must go and dine with him again.' 

Lord Cadurcis' neighbour and Mr. Pole exchanged looks ; 
and the lady, emboldened by the unexpected conduct of her 
cavalier and the exceeding good friends which he seemed re- 
solved to be with her and every one else, began to flatter 
herself that she might yet obtain the much-desired inscrip- 
tion in her volume. So, after making the usual approaches, of 
having a great favour to request, which, however, she could 
not flatter herself would be granted, and which she even 
was afraid to mention ; encouraged by the ready declaration 
of Lord Cadurcis, that he should think it would be quite 
impossible for any one to deny her anything, the lady ven- 
tured to state, that Mr. Pox had written something in her 
book, and she should be the most honoured and happiest 
lady in the land if ' 

' Oh ! I shall be most happy,' said Lord Cadurcis ; ' I 
really esteem your request quite an honour : you know I 
am only a literary amateur, and cannot pretend to vie 
with your real authors. If you want them, you must go 
to Mrs. Montagu. I would not write a line for her, and 



236 VENETIA. 

so the blues have quite excommunicated me. Never mind ; 
I leave them to Miss Hannah More ; but you, you are quite 
a different sort of person. What shall I write ? ' 

' I must leave the subject to you,' said his gratified friend. 

' "Well, then,' said his lordship, ' I dare say you have got 
a lapdog or a broken fan ; I don't think I could soar above 
them. I think that is about my tether.' 

This lady, though a great person, was not a beauty, and 
very little of a wit, and not calculated in any respect to 
excite the jealousy of Lady Monteagle. In the meantime 
that lady was quite delighted with the unusual animation 
of Lord Cadurcis, who was much the most entertaining 
member of the party. Every one present would circulate 
throughout the world that it was only at the Monteagle' s 
that Lord Cadurcis condescended to be amusing. As the 
Bishop was seated on her right hand, Lady Monteagle seized 
the opportunity of making inquiries as to their acquaint- 
ance ; but she only obtained from the good Masham that 
he had once resided in his lordship's neighbourhood, and 
had known him as a child, and was greatly attached to him. 
Her ladyship was anxious to obtain some juvenile anecdotes 
of her hero ; but the Bishop contrived to be amusing with- 
out degenerating into gossip. She did not glean much, 
except that all his early friends were more astonished at his 
present career than the Bishop himself, who was about to 
add, that he always had some misgivings, but, recollecting 
where he was, he converted the word into a more gracious 
term. But if Lady Monteagle were not so successful as she 
could wish in her inquiries, she contrived still to speak on 
the, to her, ever-interesting subject, and consoled herself 
by the communications which she poured into a guarded 
yet not unwilling ear, respecting the present life and con- 
duct of the Bishop's former pupil. The worthy dignitary 
had been prepared by public fame for much that was 
dazzling and eccentric ; but it must be confessed he was 
not a little astonished by a great deal to which he listened. 
One thing, however, was clear, that whatever might be the 



VENETIA. 237 

demeanour of Cadurcis to the circle in which he now moved, 
time, and the strange revolutions of his life, had not affected 
his carriage to his old friend. It gratified the Bishop while 
he listened to Lady Monteagle's details of the haughty, re- 
served, and melancholy demeanour of Cadurcis, which im- 
pressed every one with an idea that some superior being 
had, as a punishment, been obliged to visit their humble 
globe, to recall the apparently heartfelt cordiality with which 
he had resumed his old acquaintance with the former rector 
of Marringhurst. 

And indeed, to speak truth, the amiable and unpretend- 
ing behaviour of Cadurcis this day was entirely attributable 
to the unexpected meeting with this old friend. In the 
hurry of society he could scarcely dwell upon the associa- 
tions which it was calculated to call up ; yet more than 
once he found himself quite absent, dwelling on sweet 
recollections of that Cherbury that he had so loved. And 
ever and anon the tones of a familiar voice caught his ear, 
so that they almost made him start : they were not the less 
striking, because, as Masham was seated on the same side 
of the table as Cadurcis, his eye had not become habitu- 
ated to the Bishop's presence, which sometimes he almost 
doubted. 

He seized the first opportunity after dinner of engaging 
his old tutor in conversation. He took him affectionately 
by the arm, and led him, as if unintentionally, to a sofa 
apart from the rest of the company, and seated himself by 
his side. Cadurcis was agitated, for he was about to inquire 
of some whom he could not mention without emotion. 

' Is it long since you have seen our friends ? ' said his 
lordship, ' if indeed I may call them mine.' 

' Lady Annabel Herbert ? ' said the Bishop. 

Cadurcis bowed. 

' I parted from her about two months back,' continued 
the Bishop. 

' And Cherbury, dear Cherbury, is it unchanged ? ' 

' They have not resided there for more than two years.' 



238 VEKETIA. 

'Indeed!' 

' They have lived, of late, at Weymouth, for the benefit 
of the sea air.' 

' I hope neither Lady Annabel nor her daughter needs 
it ? ' said Lord Cadurcis, in a tone of much feeling. 

' Neither now, God be praised ! ' replied Masham ; ' but 
Miss Herbert has been a great invalid.' 

There was a rather awkward silence. At length Lord 
Cadurcis said, ' We meet rather unexpectedly, my dear sir.' 

' Why, you have become a great man,' said the Bishop, 
with a smile ; ' and one must expect to meet you.' 

' Ah ! my dear friend,' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis, with a 
sigh, ' I would willingly give a whole existence of a life 
like this for one year of happiness at Cherbury.' 

' Nay ! ' said the Bishop, with a look of good-natured 
mockery, ' this melancholy is all very well in poetry ; but 
I always half-suspected, and I am quite sure now, that 
Cherbury was not particularly adapted to you.' 

' You mistake me,' said Cadurcis, mournfully shaking 
his head. 

' Hitherto I have not been so very wrong in my judgment 
respecting Lord Cadurcis, that I am inclined very easily to 
give up my opinion,' replied the Bishop. 

' I have often thought of the conversation to which you 
allude,' replied Lord Cadurcis; 'nevertheless, there is one 
opinion I never changed, one sentiment that still reigns 
paramount in my heart.' 

' You think so,' said his companion ; but, perhaps, were 
it more than a sentiment, it would cease to flourish.' 

' No,' said Lord Cadurcis firmly ; ' the only cireumstance 
in the world of which I venture to feel certain is my love for 
Venetia.' 

' It raged certainly during your last visit to Cherbury,' 
said the Bishop, ' after an interval of five years ; it has 
been revived slightly to-day, after an interval of three more, 
by the sight of a mutual acquaintance, who has reminded 
you of her. But what have been your feelings in the 



VENETIA. 239 

meantime ? Confess the truth, and admit you have very 
rarely spared a thought to the person to whom you fancy 
yourself at this moment so passionately devoted.' 

'You do not do me justice,' said Lord Cadurcis ; 'you 
are prejudiced against me.' 

' Nay ! prejudice is not my humour, my good lord. I 
decide only from what I myself observe ; I give my opinion 
to you at this moment as freely as I did when you last 
conversed with me at the abbey, and when I a little dis- 
pleased you by speaking what you will acknowledge has 
since turned out to be the truth.' 

' You mean, then, to say,' said his lordship, with some 
excitement, ' that you do not believe that I love Venetia ? ' 

' I think you do, at this moment,' replied Masham ; ' and 
I think,' he continued, smiling, ' that you may probably 
continue very much in love with her, even during the rest 
of the week.' 

* You mock me ! ' 

'Nay! I am sincerely serious.' 

' What, then, do you mean ? ' 

' I mean that your imagination, my lord, dwelling for 
the moment with great power upon the idea of Venetia, . 
becomes inflamed, and your whole mind is filled with her 
image.' 

'A metaphysical description of being in love,' said Lord 
Cadurcis, rather dryly. 

' Nay ! ' said Masham, ' I think the heart has something 
to do with that.' 

' But the imagination acts upon the heart,' rejoined his 
companion. 

' But it is in the nature of its influence not to endure. 
At this moment, I repeat, your lordship may perhaps love 
Miss Herbert ; you may go home and muse over her 
memory, and even deplore in passionate verses your misery 
in being separated from her ; but, in the course of a few 
days, she will be again forgotten.' 

' But were she mine ? ' urged Lord Cadurcis, eagerly. 



240 VENETIA. 

' Why, you would probably part from her in a year, as 
her father parted from Lady Annabel.' 

' Impossible ! for my imagination could not conceive any- 
thing more exquisite than she is.' 

' Then it would conceive something less exquisite,' said 
the Bishop. ' It is a restless quality, and is ever creative, 
either of good or of evil.' 

' Ah ! my dear Doctor, excuse me for again calling yon 
Doctor, it is so natural,' said Cadurcis, in a tone of 
affection. 

' Call me what you will, my dear lord,' said the good 
Bishop, whose heart was moved ; ' I can never forget old 
days.' 

' Believe me, then,' continued Cadurcis, ' that you mis- 
judge me in respect of Venetia. I feel assured that, had 
we married three years ago, I should have been a much 
happier man.' 

' Why, you have everything to make you happy,' said 
the Bishop ; ' if you are not happy, who should be ? You 
are young, and you are famous : all that is now wanted is 
to be wise.' 

Lord Cadurcis shrugged his shoulders. ' I am tired of 
this life,' he said ; ' I am wearied of the same hollow bustle, 
and the same false glitter day after day. Ah ! my dear 
friend, when I remember the happy hours when I used to 
roam, through the woods of Cherbury with Venetia, and 
ramble in that delicious park, both young, both innocent, 
lit by the sunset and guided by the stars ; and then re- 
member that it has all ended in this, and that this is 
success, glory, fame, or whatever be the proper title to 
baptize the babble, the burthen of existence is too great 
for me.' 

' Hush, hush ! ' said his friend, rising from the sofa ; 
'you will be happy if you be wise.' 

' But what is wisdom? ' said Lord Cadurcis. 

' One quality of it, in your situation, my lord, is to keep 
your head as calm as you can. Now, I must bid you good 
night.' 



VENETIA. 241 

The Bishop disappeared, and Lord Cadurcis was imme- 
diately surrounded by several fine ladies, who were en- 
couraged by the flattering bulletin that his neighbour at 
dinner, who was among them, had given of his lordship's 
temper. They were rather disappointed to find him sullen, 
sarcastic, and even morose. As for going to Ranelagh, he 
declared that, if he had the power of awarding the punish- 
ment of his bitterest enemy, it would be to consign him for 
an hour to the barbarous infliction of a promenade in that 
temple of ennui ; and as for the owner of the album, who, 
anxious about her verses, ventured to express a hope that 
his lordship would call upon her, the contemptuous bard 
gave her what he was in the habit of styling 'a look,' and 
quitted the room, without deigning otherwise to acknow- 
ledge her hopes and her courtesy. 



CHAPTER V. 

WE must now return to our friends the Herberts, who, 
having quitted" Weymouth, without even revisiting Cher- 
bury, are now on their journey to the metropolis. It was 
not without considerable emotion that Lady Annabel, after 
an absence of nearly nineteen years, contemplated her 
return to the scene of some of the most extraordinary and 
painful occurrences of her life. As for Venetia, who knew 
nothing of towns and cities, save from the hasty obser- 
vations she had made in travelling, the idea of London, 
formed only from books and her imagination, was invested 
with even awful attributes. Mistress Pauncefort alone looked 
forward to their future residence simply with feelings of 
self-congratulation at her return, after so long an interval, 
to the theatre of former triumphs and pleasures, and where 
she conceived herself so eminently qualified to shine and to 
enjoy. 

The travellers entered town towards nightfall, by Hyde 
Park Corner, and proceeded to an hotel in St. James's 



242 VENETIA. 

Street, where Lady Annabel's man of business had engaged 
them apartments. London, with its pallid parish lamps, 
scattered at long intervals, would have presented but a 
gloomy appearance to the modern eye, habituated to all the 
splendour of gas ; but to Venetia it seemed difficult to con- 
ceive a scene of more brilliant bustle ; and she leant back 
in the carriage, distracted with the lights and the confusion 
of the crowded streets. When they were once safely lodged 
in their new residence, the tumult of unpacking the car- 
riages had subsided, and the ceaseless tongue of Pauncefort 
had in some degree refrained from its wearying and worry- 
ing chatter, a feeling of loneliness, after all this agitation 
and excitement, simultaneously came over the feelings of 
both mother and daughter, though they alike repressed its 
expression. Lady Annabel was lost in many sad thoughts, 
and Yenetia felt mournful, though she could scarcely define 
the cause. Both were silent, and they soon sought refuge 
from fatigue and melancholy in sleep. 

The next morning, it being now April, was fortunately 
bright and clear. It certainly was a happy fortune that 
the fair Venetia was not greeted with a fog. She rose re- 
freshed and cheerful, and joined her mother, who was, 
however, not a little agitated by an impending visit, of 
which Venetia had been long apprised. This was from 
Lady Annabel's brother, the former ambassador, who had 
of late returned to his native country. The brother and 
sister had been warmly attached in youth, but the awful 
interval of time that had elapsed since they parted, filled 
Venetia's mother with many sad and serious reflections. 
The Earl and his family had been duly informed of Lady 
Annabel's visit to the metropolis, and had hastened to offer 
her the hospitality of their home ; but the offer had been 
declined, with feelings, however, not a little gratified by the 
earnestness with which it had been proffered. 

Venetia was now, for the first time in her life, to see a 
relative. The anticipated meeting excited in her mind 
rather curiosity than sentiment. She could not share the 



VENETIA. 243 

agitation of her mother, and yet she looked forward to the 
arrival of her uncle with extreme inquisitiveness. She was 
not long kept in suspense. Their breakfast was scarcely 
finished, when he was announced. Lady Annabel turned 
rather pale ; and Venetia, who felt herself as it were a 
stranger to her blood, would have retired, had not her 
mother requested her to remain ; so she only withdrew to 
the back of the apartment. 

Her uncle was ten years the senior of his sister, but not 
unlike her. Tall, graceful, with those bland and sympa- 
thising manners that easily win hearts, he entered the room 
with a smile of affection, yet with a composure of deport- 
ment that expressed at the same time how sincerely de- 
lighted he was at the meeting, and how considerately 
determined, at the same time, not to indulge in a scene. 
He embraced his sister with tenderness, assured her that 
she looked as young as ever, softly chided her for not 
making his house her home, and hoped that they should 
never part again ; and he then turned to his niece. A fine 
observer, one less interested in the scene than the only 
witnesses, might have detected in the Earl, notwithstand- 
ing his experienced breeding, no ordinary surprise and 
gratification at the sight of the individual whose relation- 
ship he was now to claim for the first time. 

'I must claim an uncle's privilege,' he said, in a tone of 
sweetness and some emotion, as he pressed with his own 
the beautiful lips of Venetia. ' I ought to be proud of my 
niece. Why, Annabel ! if only for the honour of our 
.family, you should not have kept this jewel so long en- 
shrined in the casket of Cherbury.' 

The Earl remained with them some hours, and his visit 
was really prolonged by the unexpected pleasure which he 
found in the society of his relations. He would not leave 
them until they promised to dine with him that day, and 
mentioned that he had prevented his wife from calling 
with him that morning, because he thought, after so long a 
separation, it might be better to meet thus quietly. Then 

K 2 



244 VENETIA. 

they parted with affectionate cordiality on both sides ; the 
Earl enchanted to find delightful companions where he was 
half afraid he might only meet tiresome relatives ; Lady 
Annabel proud of her brother, and gratified by his kind- 
ness ; and Venetia anxious to ascertain whether all her re- 
lations were as charming as her uncle. 



CHAPTER VI. 

WHEN Lady Annabel and her daughter returned from their 
morning drive, they found the visiting ticket of the 
Countess on the table, who had also left a note, with which 
she had provided herself in case she was not so fortunate as 
to meet her relations. The note was affectionate, and ex- 
pressed the great delight of the writer at again meeting her 
dear sister, and forming an acquaintance with her charming 
niece. 

' More relations ! ' said Venetia, with a somewhat droll 
expression of countenance. 

At this moment the Bishop of , who had already 

called twice upon them unsuccessfully, entered the room. 
The sight of this old and dear friend gave great joy. He 
came to engage them to dine with him the next day, having 
already ineffectually endeavoured to obtain them for per- 
manent guests. They sat chatting so long with him, that 
they were obliged at last to bid him an abrupt adieu, and 
hasten and make their toilettes for their dinner. 

Their hostess received her relations with a warmth which 
her husband's praises of her sister-in-law and niece had ori- 
ginally prompted, but which their appearance and manners 
instantly confirmed. As all the Earl's children were mar- 
ried, their party consisted to-day only of themselves ; but 
it was a happy and agreeable meeting, for every one was 
desirous of being amiable. To be sure they had not many 
recollections or associations in common, and no one recurred 
to the past ; but London, and the history of its fleeting 



VENETIA. 245 

hours, vras an inexhaustible source of amusing conversation ; 
and the Countess seemed resolved that Venetia should have 
a brilliant season; that she should be much amused and 
much admired. Lady Annabel, however, put in a plea for 
moderation, at least until Venetia was presented ; but that 
the Countess declared must be at the next drawing-room, 
which was early in the ensuing week. Venetia listened to 
glittering narratives of balls and routs, operas and theatres, 
breakfasts and masquerades, Ranelagh and the Pantheon, 
with the same smiling composure as if she had been accus- 
tomed to them all her life, instead of having been shut up in 
a garden, with no livelier or brighter companions than birds 
and flowers. 

After dinner, as her aunt and uncle and Lady Annabel 
sat round the fire, talking of her maternal grandfather, a 
subject which did not at all interest her, Venetia stole from 
her chair to a table in a distant part of the room, and turned 
over some books and music that were lying upon it. Among 
these was a literary journal, which she touched almost by 
accident, and which opened, with the name of Lord Ca- 
durcis on the top of its page. This, of course, instantly 
attracted her attention. Her eye passed hastily over some 
sentences which greatly astonished her, and, extending her 
arm for a chair without quitting the book, she was soon 
deeply absorbed by the marvels which rapidly unfolded 
themselves to her. The article in question was an elaborate 
criticism as well of the career as the works of the noble poet ; 
for, indeed, as Venetia now learnt, they were inseparably 
blended. She gathered from these pages a faint and hasty 
yet not altogether unfaithful conception of the strange re- 
volution that had occurred in the character, pursuits, and 
position of her former companion. In that mighty metro- 
polis, whose wealth and luxury and power had that morning 
so vividly impressed themselves upon her consciousness, 
and to the history of whose pleasures and brilliant and fan- 
tastic dissipation she had recently been listening with a 
lively and diverted ear, it seemed that, by some rapid and 



246 VENETIA. 

magical vicissitude, her little Plantagenet, the faithful and 
affectionate companion of her childhood, whose sorrows she 
had so often soothed, and who in her pure and devoted love 
had always found consolation and happiness, had become 
' the observed of all observers ; ' the most remarkable where 
all was striking, and dazzling where all were brilliant ! 

His last visit to Cherbury, and its strange consequences, 
then occurred to her ; his passionate addresses, and their 
bitter parting. Here was surely matter enough for a 
maiden's reverie, and into a reverie Venetia certainly fell, 
from which she was roused by the voice of her uncle, who 
could not conceive what book his charming niece could find 
so interesting, and led her to feel what an ill compliment 
she was paying to all present. Venetia hastily closed the 
volume, and rose rather confused from her seat ; her radiant 
smile was the best apology to her uncle : and she compen- 
sated for her previous inattention, by playing to him on the 
harpsichord. All the time, however, the image of Cadurcis 
flitted across her vision, and she was glad when her mother 
moved to retire, that she might enjoy the opportunity of 
pondering in silence and unobserved over the strange history 
that she had read. 

London is a wonderful place ! Four-and-twenty hours 
back, with a feeling of loneliness and depression amounting 
to pain, Venetia had fled to sleep as her only refuge ; now 
only a day had passed, and she had both seen and heard 
many things that had alike startled and pleased her ; had 
found powerful and charming friends ; and laid her head 
upon her pillow in a tumult of emotion that long banished 
slumber from her beautiful eyes. 



CHAPTER VH. 

VENETIA soon found that she must bid adieu for ever, in 
London, to her old habits of solitude. She soon discovered 
that she was never to be alone. Her aunt called upon them 



VENETIA. 247 

early in the morning, and said that the whole day must be 
devoted to their court dresses ; and in a few minutes they 
were all whirled off to a celebrated milliner's. After innu- 
merable consultations and experiments, the dress of Venetia 
was decided on; her aunt and Lady Annabel were both 
assured that it would exceed in splendour and propriety 
any dress at the drawing-room. Indeed, as the great artist 
added, with such a model to work from it would reflect but 
little credit on the establishment, if any approached Miss 
Herbert in the effect she must inevitably produce. 

While her mother was undergoing some of those attentions 
to which Venetia had recently submitted, and had retired 
for a few minutes into an adjoining apartment, our little 
lady of Cherbury strolled about the saloon in which she had 
been left, until her attention was attracted by a portrait 
of a young man in an oriental dress, standing very sub- 
limely amid the ruins of some desert city a palm tree 
in the distance, and by his side a crouching camel, and 
some recumbent followers slumbering amid the fallen 
columns. 

' That is Lord Cadurcis, my love,' said her aunt, who at 
the moment joined her, ' the famous poet. All the young 
ladies are in love with him, I dare say you know his works 
by heart.' 

'No, indeed, aunt,' said Venetia; 'I have never even 
read them ; but I should like very much.' 

' Not read Lord Cadurcis' poems ! Oh ! we must go and 
get them directly for you. Everybody reads them. You 
will be looked upon quite as a little barbarian. We will 
stop the carriage at Stockdale's, and get them for you.' 

At this moment Lady Annabel rejoined them ; and, having 
made all their arrangements, they re-entered the carriage. 

' Stop at Stockdale's,' said her ladyship to the servant ; 
' I must get Cadurcis' last poem for Venetia. She will be 
quite back in her learning, Annabel.' 

' Cadurcis' last poem ! ' said Lady Annabel ; ' do you mean 
Lord Cadurcis ? Is he a poet ? ' 



248 VENETIA. 

' To be sure ! Well, you are countrified not to know Lord 
Cadurcis ! ' 

' I know him very well,' said Lady Annabel, gravely ; ' but 
I did not know he was a poet.' 

The Countess laughed, the carriage stopped, the book was 
brought ; Lady Annabel looked uneasy, and tried to catch 
her daughter's countenance, but, strange to say, for the first 
time in her life was quite unsuccessful. The Countess took 
the book, and immediately gave it Venetia. ' There, my 
dear,' said her aunt, ' there never was anything so charming. 
I am so provoked that Cadurcis is a Whig.' 

' A Whig ! ' said Lady Annabel ; ' he was not a Whig when 
3. knew him.' 

' Oh ! my dear, I am afraid he is worse than a Whig. He 
is almost a rebel ! But then he is such a genius ! Every- 
thing is allowed, you know, to a genius ! ' said the thought- 
less sister-in-law. 

Lady Annabel was silent ; but the stillness of her emo- 
tion must not be judged from the stillness of her tongue. 
Her astonishment at all she had heard was only equalled by 
what we may justly term her horror. It was impossible 
that she could have listened to any communication at the 
same time so astounding, and to her so fearful. 

' We knew Lord Cadurcis when he was very young, aunt,' 
said Venetia, in a quiet tone. ' He lived near mamma, in 
the country.' 

' Oh ! my dear Annabel, if you see him in town bring 
him to me ; he is the most difficult person in the world to 
get to one's house, and I would give anything if he would 
come and dine with me.' 

The Countess at last set her relations down at their 
hotel. When Lady Annabel was once more alone with her 
daughter, she said, 'Venetia, dearest, give me that book 
your aunt lent you.' 

Venetia immediately handed it to her, but her mother did 
not open it ; but saying, ' The Bishop dines at four, darling ; I 
think it is time for us to dress,' Lady Annabel left the room. 



VENETIA. 249 

To say the truth, Venetia was less surprised than disap- 
pointed by this conduct of her mother's ; but she was not 
apt to murmur, and she tried to dismiss the subject from 
her thoughts. 

It was with unfeigned delight that the kind-hearted 
Masham welcomed under his own roof his two best and 
dearest friends. He had asked nobody to meet them ; it 
was settled that they were to be quite alone, and to talk of 
nothing but Cherbury and Marringhurst. When they were 
seated at table, the Bishop, who had been detained at the 
House of Lords, and been rather hurried to be in time to 
receive his guests, turned to his servant and inquired whether 
any one had called. 

' Yes, my lord, Lord Cadurcis,' was the reply. 

' Our old companion,' said the Bishop to Lady Annabel, 
with a smile. ' He has called upon me twice, and I have 
on both occasions unfortunately been absent.' 

Lady Annabel merely bowed an assent to the Bishop's 
remark. Venetia longed to speak, but found it impossible. 
' What is it that represses me ? ' she asked herself. ' Is 
there to be another forbidden subject insensibly to arise 
between us ? I must struggle against this indefinable des- 
potism that seems to pervade my life.' 

' Have you met Lord Cadurcis, sir ? ' at length asked 
Venetia. 

' Once ; we resumed our acquaintance at a dinner party 
one day; but I shall soon see a great deal of him, for he 
has just taken his seat. He is of age, you know.' 

' I hope he has come to years of discretion in every sense,' 
said Lady Annabel ; ' but I fear not.' 

' Oh, my dear lady ! ' said the Bishop, ' he has become a 
great man ; he is our star. I assure you there is nobody in 
London talked of but Lord Cadurcis. He asked me a great 
deal after you and Cherbury. He will be delighted to see 
you.' 

' I cannot say,' replied Lady Annabel, ' that the desire of 
meeting is at all mutual. From all I hear, our connections 



250 VENETIA. 

and opinions are very different, and I dare say our habits 
likewise.' 

' My aunt lent us his new poem to- day,' said Yenetia, 
boldly. 

' Have you read it ? ' asked the Bishop. 

* I am no admirer of modern poetry,' said Lady Annabel, 
somewhat tartly. 

' Poetry of any kind is not much in my way,' said the 
Bishop, ' but if you like to read his poems, I will lend them 
to you, for he gave me a copy ; esteemed a great honour, I 
assure you.' 

' Thank you, my lord,' said Lady Annabel, ' both Yenetia 
and myself are much engaged now ; and I do not wish her 
to read while she is in London. When we return to Cher- 
bury she will have abundance of time, if desirable.' 

Both Yenetia and her worthy host felt 'that the present 
subject of conversation was not agreeable to Lady Annabel, 
and it was changed. They fell upon more gracious topics, 
and in spite of this somewhat sullen commencement the 
meeting was quite as delightful as they anticipated. Lady 
Annabel particularly exerted herself to please, and, as was 
invariably the case under such circumstances with this lady, 
she was eminently successful ; she apparently endeavoured, 
by her remarkable kindness to her daughter, to atone for 
any unpleasant feeling which her previous manner mightJfor 
an instant have occasioned. Yenetia watched her beautiful 
and affectionate parent, as Lady Annabel now dwelt with 
delight upon the remembrance of their happy home, and 
now recurred to the anxiety she naturally felt about her 
daughter's approaching presentation, with feelings of love 
and admiration, which made her accuse herself for the recent 
rebellion of her heart. She thought only of her mother's 
sorrows, and her devotion to her child ; and, grateful for 
the unexpected course of circumstances which seemed to 
be leading every member of their former little society to 
honour and happiness, she resolved to persist in that career 
of duty and devotion to her mother, from which it seemed 



VENETIA. 251 

to her she had never deviated for a moment but to expe- 
rience sorrow, misfortune, and remorse. Never did Venetia 
receive her mother's accustomed embrace and blessing with 
more responsive tenderness and gratitude than this night. 
She banished Cadurcis and his poems from her thoughts, 
confident that, so long as her mother approved neither of 
her continuing his acquaintance, nor perusing his writings, 
it was well that the one should be a forgotten tie, and the 
other a sealed book. 



CHAPTER Yin. 

AMONG the intimate acquaintances of Lady Annabel's 
brother was the nobleman who had been a minister during 
the American war, and who had also been the guardian of 
Lord Cadurcis, of whom, indeed, he was likewise a distant 
relative. He had called with his wife on Lady Annabel, 
after meeting her and her daughter at her brother's, and 
had cultivated her acquaintance with great kindness and 
assiduity, so that Lady Annabel had found it impossible to 
refuse his invitation to dinner. 

This dinner occurred a few days after the visit of the 
Herberts to the Bishop, and that excellent personage, her 
own family, and some others equally distinguished, but all 
of the ministerial party, were invited to meet her. Lady 
Annabel found herself placed at table between a pompous 
courtier, who, being a gourmand, was not very prompt to 
disturb his enjoyment by conversation, and a young man 
whom she found very agreeable, and who at first, indeed, 
attracted her attention by his resemblance to some face 
with which she felt she was familiar, and yet which she 
was not successful in recalling. His manners were re- 
markably frank and ingenuous, yet soft and refined. With- 
out having any peculiar brilliancy of expression, he was 
apt and fluent, and his whole demeanour characterised by 



252 VENETIA. 

a gentle modesty that was highly engaging. Apparently 
he had travelled a great deal, for he more than once 
alluded to his experience of foreign countries ; but this was 
afterwards explained by Lady Annabel discovering, from 
an observation he let fall, that he was a sailor. A passing 
question from an opposite guest also told her- that' he was a 
member of parliament. While she was rather anxiously 
wishing to know who he might be, and congratulating her- 
self that one in whose favour she was so much prepossessed 
should be on the right side, their host saluted him from 
the top of the table, and said, ' Captain Cadurcis, a glass of 
wine.' 

The countenance was now explained. It was indeed 
Lord Cadurcis whom he resembled, though his eyes were 
dark blue, and his hair light brown. This then was that 
cousin who had been sent to sea to make his fortune, and 
whom Lady Annabel had a faint recollection of poor Mrs. 
Cadurcis once mentioning. George Cadurcis had not ex- 
actly made his fortune, but he had distinguished himself in 
his profession, and especially in Rodney's victory, and had 
fought his way up to the command of a frigate. The frigate 
had recently been paid off, and he had called to pay his re- 
spects to his noble relative with the hope of obtaining his 
interest for a new command. The guardian of his cousin, 
mortified with the conduct of his hopeful ward, was not 
very favourably impressed towards any one who bore the 
name of Cadurcis ; yet George, with no pretence, had a 
winning honest manner that made friends ; his lordship 
took a fancy to him, and, as he could not at the moment 
-obtain him a ship, he did the next best thing for him in his 
power ; a borough was vacant, and he put him into par- 
liament. 

' Do you know,' said Lady Annabel to her neighbour, ' I 
have been fancying all dinner time that we had met before ; 
but I find it is that you only resemble one with whom I 
was once acquainted.' 

' My cousin ! ' said the Captain ; ' he will be very mortified 



VENETIA. 253 

when I go home, if I tell him your ladyship speaks of his 
acquaintance as one that is past.' 

' It is some years since we met,' said Lady Annabel, in a 
more reserved tone. 

' Plantagenet can never forget what he owes to you,' said 
Captain Cadurcis. ' How often has he spoken to me of you 
and Miss Herbert ! It was only the other night ; yes ! not 
a week ago ; that he made me sit up with him all night, 
while he was telling stories of Cherbury: you see I am 
quite familiar with the spot,' he added, smiling. 

'You are very intimate with your cousin, I see,' said 
Lady Annabel. 

'I live a great deal with him,' said George Cadurcis. 
' You know we had never met or communicated ; and it 
was not Plantagenet's fault, I am sure ; for of all the gene- 
rous, amiable, lovable beings, Cadurcis is the best I ever 
met with in this world. Ever since we knew each other 
he has been a brother to me ; and though our politics and 
opinions are so opposed, and we naturally live in such a 
different circle, he would have insisted even upon my 
having apartments in his house ; nor is it possible for me 
to give you the slightest idea of the delicate and unceasing 
kindness I experience from him. If we had lived together 
all our lives, it would be impossible to be more united.' 

This eulogium rather softened Lady Annabel's heart ; she 
even observed, ' I always thought Lord Cadurcis naturally 
well disposed ; I always hoped he would turn out well ; but 
I was afraid, from what I heard, he was much changed. 
He shows, however, his sense and good feeling in selecting 
you for his friend ; for you are his natural one,' she added, 
after a momentary pause. 

' And then you know,' he continued, ' it is so purely kind 
of him ; for of course I am not fit to be a companion for 
Cadurcis, and perhaps, as far as that, no one is. Of course 
-we have not a thought in common. I know nothing but 
what I have picked up in a rough life ; and he, you know, 
is the cleverest person that ever lived, at least I think so.' 



254 VENETIA. 

Lady Annabel smiled. 

' Well, he is very young,' she observed, ' much your junior, 
Captain Cadurcis ; and I hope he will yet prove a faithful 
steward of the great gifts that God has given him.' 

' I would stake all I hold dear,' said the Captain, with 
great animation, ' that Cadurcis turns out well. He has such 
a good heart. Ah ! Lady Annabel, if he be now and then 
a little irregular, only think of the temptations that assail 
him. Only one-and-twenty, his own master, and all London 
at his feet. It is too much for any one's head. But say or 
think what the world may, I know him better than they 
do ; and I know there is not a finer creature in existence. 
I hope his old friends will not desert him,' added Captain 
Cadurcis, with a smile which seemed to deprecate the 
severity of Lady Annabel ; ' for in spite of all his fame and 
prosperity, perhaps, after all, this is the time when he most 
needs them.' 

' Very possibly,' said her ladyship rather dryly. 

While the mother was engaged in this conversation with 
her neighbour respecting her former interesting acquaint- 
ance, such was the fame of Lord Cadurcis then in the me- 
tropolis, that he also formed the topic of conversation at 
another part of the table, to which the daughter was an 
attentive listener. The tone in which he was spoken of, 
however, was of a very different character. While no one 
disputed his genius, his principles, temper, and habits of 
life were submitted to the severest scrutiny; and it was 
with blended feelings of interest and astonishment that 
'Venetia listened to the detail of wild opinions, capricious 
conduct, and extravagant and eccentric behaviour ascribed 
to the companion of her childhood, who had now become 
the spoiled child of society. A shrewd gentleman, who 
had taken an extremely active part in this discussion, in- 
quired of Venetia, next to whom he was seated, whether 
she had read his lordship's last poem. He was extremely 
surprised when Venetia answered in the negative ; but he 
seized the opportunity of giving her an elaborate criticism 



VENETIA. 255 

on the poetical genius of Cadurcis. ' As for his style,' said 
the critic, ' no one can deny that is his own, and he will 
last by his style ; as for his philosophy, and all these wild 
opinions of his, they will pass away, because they are not 
genuine, they are not his own, they are borrowed. He will 
outwrite them ; depend upon it, he will. The fact is, as a 
friend of mine observed the other day, Herbert's writings 
have turned his head. Of course you could know nothing 
about them, but there are wonderful things in them, I can 
tell you that.' 

' I believe it most sincerely,' said Venetia. 

The critic stared at his neighbour. ' Hush ! ' said he, 
'his wife and daughter are here. We must not talk of 
these things. You know Lady Annabel Herbert ? There 
she is ; a very fine woman too. And that is his daughter 
there, I believe, that dark girl with a turned-up nose. I 
cannot say she warrants the poetical address to her : 

My precious pearl the false and glittering world 
Has ne'er polluted -with its garish light ! 

She does not look much like a pearl, does she ? She should 
keep in solitude, eh ? ' 

The ladies rose and relieved Venetia from her embarrass- 
ment. 

After dinner Lady Annabel introduced George Cadurcis 
to her daughter ; and, seated by them both, he contrived 
without effort, and without the slightest consciousness of 
success, to confirm the pleasing impression in his favour 
which he had already made, and, when they parted, it was 
even with a mutual wish that they might meet again. 



CHAPTER IX. 

IT was the night after the drawing-room. Lord Cadurcis 
was at Brookes' dining at midnight, having risen since only 
a few hours. Being a malcontent, he had ceased to attend 



256 VENETIA. 

the Court, where his original reception had been most gra- 
cious, which he had returned by some factious votes, and a 
caustic lampoon. 

A party of young men entered^ from the Court Ball, 
which in those days always terminated at midnight, whence 
the guests generally proceeded to Ranelagh ; one or two of 
them seated themselves at the table at which Cadurcis was 
sitting. They were full of a new beauty who had been 
presented. Their violent and even extravagant encomiums 
excited his curiosity. Such a creature had never been seen, 
she was peerless, the most radiant of acknowledged charms 
had been dimmed before her. Their Majesties had accorded 
to her the most marked reception. A Prince of the blood 
had honoured her with his hand. Then they began to ex- 
patiate with fresh enthusiasm on her unparalleled loveliness. 

' Cadurcis,' said a young noble, who was one of his 
extreme admirers, ' she is the only creature I ever beheld 
worthy of being one of your heroines.' 

' Whom are you talking about ? ' asked Cadurcis in a 
rather listless tone. 

' The new beauty, of course.' 

' And who may she be ? ' 

' Miss Herbert, to be sure. Who speaks or thinks of any 
one else ? ' 

' What, Ve ^ I mean Miss Herbert ? ' exclaimed Ca- 
durcis, with no little energy. 

' Yes. Do you know her ? ' 

' Do you mean to say ' and Cadurcis stopped and 

rose from the table, and joined the party round the fire. 
' What Miss Herbert is it ? ' he added, after a short pause. 

' Why the Miss Herbert ; Herbert's daughter, to be sure. 
She was presented to-day by her mother. 

'Lady Annabel?' 

' The same.' 

' Presented to-day ! ' said Cadurcis audibly, yet speaking 
as it were to himself. 'Presented to-day! Presented! 
How strange ! ' 



VKXETIA. 257 

' So every one thinks ; one of the strangest things that 
ever happened,' remarked a bystander. 

' And I did not even know they -were in town,' continued 
Cadurcis, for, from his irregular ho\irs, he had not seen his 
cousin since the party of yesterday. He began walking 
up and down the room, muttering, ' Masliam, Weymouth, 
London, presented at Court, and I know nothing. How 
life changes ! Venetia at Court, my Venetia ! ' Then turn- 
ing round and addressing the young nobleman who had first 
spoken to him, he asked ' if the ball were over.' 

' Tes ; all the world are going to Banelagh. Are you 
inclined to take a round ? ' 

' I have a strange fancy,' said Cadurcis, ' and if you will 
go with me, I will take you in my vis-a-vis. It is here.' 

This was an irresistible invitation, and in a few minutes 
the companions were on their way ; Cadurcis, apparently 
with no peculiar interest in the subject, leading the con- 
versation very artfully to the presentation of Miss Herbert. 
His friend was heartily inclined to gratify his curiosity. 
He gave him ample details of Miss Herbert's person : even 
of her costume, and the sensation both produced ; how she 
was presented by her mother, who, after so long an estrange- 
ment from the world, scarcely excited less impression, and 
the remarkable cordiality with which both mother and 
daughter were greeted by the sovereign and his royal 
consort. 

The two young noblemen found Ranelagh crowded, but 
the presence of Lord Cadurcis occasioned a sensation the 
moment he was recognised. Everywhere the whisper went 
round, and many parties crowded near to catch a glimpse 
of the hero of the day. ' Which is he ? That fair, tall young 
man ? No, the other to be sure. Is it really he ? How 
distinguished ! How melancholy ! Quite the poet. Do 
you think he is really so unhappy as he looks ? I would 
sooner see him than the King and Queen. He seems very 
young, but then he has seen so much of the world ! Fine 
eyes, beautiful hair ! I wonder who is'his friend ? How 

R 



258 VENETIA. 

proud lie must be ! Who is that lady he bowed to ? That 
is the Duke of speaking to him.' Such were the re- 
marks that might be caught in the vicinity of Lord Cadurcis 
as he took his round, gazed at by the assembled crowd, of 
whom many knew him only by fame, for the charm of 
Ranelagh was that it was rather a popular than a merely 
fashionable assembly. Society at large blended with the 
Court, which maintained and renewed its influence by being 
witnessed under the most graceful auspices. The personal 
authority of the aristocracy has decreased with the disap- 
pearance of Ranelagh and similar places of amusement, 
where rank was not exclusive, and luxury by the gratifica- 
tion it occasioned others seemed robbed of half its selfism. 

In his second round, Lord Cadurcis recognised the ap- 
proach of the Herberts. They formed the portion of a large 
party. Lady Annabel was leaning on her brother, whom 
Cadurcis knew by sight ; Venetia was at the side of her 
aunt, and several gentlemen were hovering about them ; 
among them, to his surprise, his cousin, George Cadurcis, 
in his uniform, for he had been to Court and to the Court 
Ball. Venetia was talking with animation. She was in 
her Court dress and in powder. Her appearance was 
strange to him. He could scarcely recognise the friend of his 
childhood ; but without any doubt in all that assembly, un- 
rivalled in the whole world for beauty, grace, and splendour, 
she was without a parallel; a cynosure on which all eyes 
were fixed. 

So occupied were the ladies of the Herbert party by the 
conversation of their numerous and brilliant attendants, 
that the approach of any one else but Lord Cadurcis might 
have been unnoticed by them, but a hundred tongues before 
he drew nigh had prepared Venetia for his appearance. 
She was indeed most anxious to behold him, and though 
she was aware that her heart fluttered not slightly as the 
moment was at hand, she commanded her gaze, and her 
eyes met bis, although she was doubtful whether he might 
choose or care to recognise her. He bowed almost to the 



VENETIA. 259 

ground ; and when Venetia had raised her responsive head 
he had passed by. 

' Why, Cadurcis, you know Miss Herbert? ' said his friend 
in a tone of some astonishment. 

' Well ; but it is a long time since I have seen her.' 

' Is she not beautiful ? ' 

' I never doubted on that subject ; I tell you, Scrope, we 
must contrive to join her party. I wish we had some of 
our friends among them. Here comes the Monteagle ; aid 
me to escape her.' 

The most fascinating smile failed in arresting the pro- 
gress of Cadurcis ; fortunately, the lady was the centre of a 
brilliant band ; all that he had to do, therefore, was boldly 
to proceed. 

' Do you think my cousin is altered since you knew him? ' 
inquired George Cadurcis of Venetia. 

' I scarcely had time to observe him,' she replied. 

' I wish you would let me bring him to you. He did not 
know until this moment you were in town. I have not 
seen him since we met yesterday.' 

' Oh, no,' said Venetia. 'Do not disturb him.' 

In time, however, Lord Cadurcis was again in sight ; and 
now without any hesitation he stopped, and falling into the 
line by Miss Herbert, he addressed her : ' I am proud of 
being remembered by Miss Herbert,' he said. 

' I am most happy to meet you,' replied Venetia, with 
unaffected sincerity. 

' And Lady Annabel, I have not been able to catch her 
eye : is she quite well ? I was ignorant that you were in 
London until I heard of your triumph this night.' 

The Countess whispered her niece, and Venetia accord- 
ingly presented Lord Cadurcis to her aunt. This was a 
most gratifying circumstance to him. He was anxious, by 
some means or other, to effect his entrance into her circle ; 
and he had an irresistible suspicion that Lady Annabel no 
longer looked upon him with eyes of favour. So he resolved 
to enlist the aunt as his friend. Few persons could be more 

s 2 



260 VENETIA. 

winning than Cadurcis, when he willed it ; and every at- 
tempt to please from one whom all emulated to gratify and 
honour, was sure to be successful. The Countess, who, in 
spite of politics, was a secret votary of his, was quite pre- 
pared to be enchanted. She congratulated herself on form- 
ing, as she had long wished, an acquaintance with one so 
celebrated. She longed to pass Lady Monteagle in triumph. 
Cadurcis improved his opportunity to the utmost. It was 
impossible for any one to be more engaging ; lively, yet at 
the same time gentle, and deferential with all his originality. 
He spoke, indeed, more to the aunt than to Yenetia, but 
when he addressed the latter, there was a melting, almost a 
mournful tenderness in his tones, that alike affected her 
heart and charmed her imagination. Nor could she be in- 
sensible to the gratification she experienced as she witnessed, 
every instant, the emotion his presence excited among the 
passers-by, and of which Cadurcis himself seemed so pro- 
perly and so utterly unconscious. And this was Plantageiiet ! 

Lord Cadurcis spoke of his cousin, who, on his joining 
the party, had assisted the arrangement by moving to the 
other side ; and he spoke of him with a regard which pleased 
Venetia, though Cadurcis envied him his good fortune in 
having the advantage of a prior acquaintance with Miss 
Herbert in town ; ' but then we are old acquaintances in the 
country,' he added, half in a playful, half in a melancholy 
tone, ' are we not ? ' 

' It is a long time that we have known each other, and it 
is a long time since we have met,' replied Venetia. 

' A delicate reproach,' said Cadurcis ; ' but perhaps rather 
my misfortune than my fault. My thoughts have been often, 
I might say ever, at Cherbury.' 

' And the abbey ; have you forgotten the abbey ? ' 

' I have never been near it since a morning you perhaps 
remember,' said his lordship in a low voice. ' Ah ! Miss 
Herbert,' he continued, with a sigh, ' I was young then ; I 
have lived to change many opinions, and some of which you 
then disapproved.' 



VENETIA. 261 

The party stopped at a box just vacant, and in which the 
ladies seated themselves while their carriages were inquired 
for. Lord Cadnrcis, with a rather faltering heart, went up 
to pay his respects to Venetia's mother. Lady Annabel 
received him with a courtesy, that however was scarcely 
cordial, but the Countess instantly presented him to her 
husband with an unction which a little astonished her sis- 
ter-in-law. Then a whisper, but unobserved, passed be- 
tween the Earl and his lady, and in a minute Lord Cadurcis 
had been invited to dine with them on the next day, and 
meet his old friends from the country. Cadurcis was pre- 
viously engaged, but hesitated not a moment in accepting 
the invitation. The Monteagle party now passed by ; the 
lady looked a little surprised at the company in which, she 
found her favourite, and not a little mortified by his neglect. 
What business had Cadurcis to be speaking to that Miss 
Herbert ? Was it not enough that the whole day not 
another name had scarcely crossed her ear, but the night 
must even witness the conquest of Lord Cadurcis by the 
new beauty ? It was such bad ton, it was so unlike him, it 
was so underbred, for a person of his position immediately 
to bow before the new idol of the hour, and a Tory girl too ! 
It was the last thing she could have expected from him. 
She should, on the contrary, have thought that the uni- 
versal admiration which this Miss Herbert commanded 
would have been exactly the reason why a man like Ca- 
durcis would have seemed almost unconscious of her exist- 
ence. She determined to remonstrate with him ; and she 
was sure of a speedy opportunity, for he was to dine with 
her on the morrow. 



CHAPTER X. 

NOTWITHSTANDING Lady Annabel's reserved demeanour, Lord 
Cadurcis, supported by the presence of his cousin, whom he 
had discovered to be a favourite of that lady, ventured to 



262 VENETIA. 

call upon her the next day, but she was out. They were 
to meet, however, at dinner, where Cadurcis determined to 
omit no opportunity to propitiate her. The Countess had 
a great deal of tact, and she contrived to make up a party 
to receive him, in which there were several of his friends, 

among them his cousin and the Bishop of , and no 

strangers who were not, like herself, his great admirers ; 
but if she had known more, she need not have given herself 
this trouble, for there was a charm among her guests of 
which she was ignorant, and Cadurcis went determined to 
please and to be pleased. 

At dinner he was seated next to Lady Annabel, and it 
was impossible for any person to be more deferential, soft, 
and insinuating. He spoke of old days with emotion which 
he did not attempt to suppress ; he alluded to the present 
with infinite delicacy. But it was very difficult to make 
way. Lady Annabel was courteous, but she was reserved. 
His lively reminiscences elicited from her no corresponding 
sentiment ; and no art would induce her to dwell upon the 
present. If she only would have condescended to compli- 
ment him, it would have given him an opportunity of ex- 
pressing his distaste of the life which he now led, and a 
description of the only life which he wished to lead ; but 
Lady Annabel studiously avoided affording him any open- 
ing of the kind. She treated him like a stranger. She 
impressed upon him without effort that she would only 
consider him an acquaintance. How Cadurcis, satiated 
with the incense of the whole world, sighed for one single 
congratulation from Lady Annabel ! Nothing could move 
her. 

'I was so surprised to meet you last night,' at length he 
again observed. ' I have made so many inquiries after you. 
Our dear friend the Bishop was, I fear, almost wearied 
with my inquiries after Cherbury. I know not how it was, 
I felt quite a pang when I heard that you had left it, and 
that all these years, when I have been conjuring up so 



VENETIA. 263 

many visions of what was passing under that dear roof, you 
were at Wey mouth.' 

' Yes. We were at Weymouth some time.' 

' But do not you long to see Cherbury again ? I cannot 
tell you how I pant for it. For my part, I have seen the 
world, and I have seen enough of it. After all, the end of 
all our exertions is to be happy at home ; that is the end of 
everything ; don't you think so ? ' 

'A happy home is certainly a great blessing,' replied 
Lady Annabel ; ' and a rare one.' 

' But why should it be rare ? ' inquired Lord Cadurcis. 

'It is our own fault,' said Lady Annabel; 'our vanity 
drives us from our hearths.' 

' But we soon return again, and calm and cooled. For 
my part, I have no object in life but to settle down at the 
old abbey, and never to quit again our woods. But I shall 
lead a dull life without my neighbours,' he added, with a 
smile, and in a tone half-coaxing. 

' I suppose you never see Lord now ? ' said Lady 

Annabel, mentioning his late guardian. There was, as 
Cadurcis fancied, some sarcasm in the question, though not 
in the tone in which it was asked. 

' No, I never see him,' his lordship answered firmly; ' we 
differ in our opinions, and I differ from him with regret ; 
but I differ from a sense of duty, and therefore I have no 
alternative.' 

' The claims of duty are of course paramount,' observed 
Lady Annabel. 

' You know my cousin ? ' said Cadurcis, to turn the con- 
versation. 

' Yes, and I like him much ; he appears to be a sensible, 
amiable person, of excellent principles.' 

' I am not bound to admire George's principles,' said 
Lord Cadurcis, gaily ; ' but I respect them, because I know 
that they are conscientious. I love George ; he is my only 
relation, and he is my friend.' 



264 VEXETIA. 

' I trust he will always be your friend, for I think yon 
will then, at least, know one person on whom you can 
depend.' 

' I believe it. The friendships of the world are wind.' 

'I am surprised to hear you. say so,' said Lady Annabel. 

' Why, Lady Annabel ? ' 

' You have so many friends.' 

Lord Cadnrcis smiled. ' I wish,' he said, after a little 
hesitation, 'if only for " Auld lang syne," I might include 
Lady Annabel Herbert among them.' 

' I do not think there is any basis for friendship between 
us, my lord,' she said, very dryly. 

'The past must ever be with me,' said Lord Cadurcis, 
' and I should have thought a sure and solid one.' 

' Our opinions on all subjects are so adverse, that I 
must believe that there could be no great sympathy in our 
feelings.' 

' My feelings are beyond my control,' he replied ; ' they 
are, and must ever be, totally independent of my opinions.' 

Lady Annabel did not reply. His lordship felt baffled, 
but he was resolved to make one more effort. 

' Do you know,' he said, ' I can scarcely believe myself 
in London to-day ? To be sitting next to you, to see Miss 
Herbert, to hear Dr. Masham's voice. Oh ! does it not recall 
Cherbury, or Marringhurst, or that day at Cadurcis, when 
you were so good as to smile over my rough repast? Ah ! 
Lady Annabel, those days were happy ! those were feelings 
that can never die ! All the glitter and hubbub of the world 
can never make me forget them, can never make you, T 
hope, Lady Annabel, quite recall them with an effort. We 
were friends then : let us be friends now.' 

' I am too old to cultivate new friendships,' said Lady 
Annabel ; ' and if we are to be friends, Lord Cadurcis, I am 
sorry to say that, after the interval that has occurred since 
we last parted, we should have to begin again.' 

' It is a long time,' said Cadurcis, mournfully, ' a very long 
time, and one, in spite of what the world may think, to 



VENETIA. 265 

which I cannot look back with any self-congratulation. 
I wished three years ago never to leave Cadurcis again. In- 
deed I did ; and indeed it was not my fault that I quitted it.' 

' It was no one's fault, I hope. Whatever the cause 
may have been, I have ever remained quite ignorant of it. 
I wished, and wish, to remain ignorant of it. I, for one, 
have ever considered it the wise dispensation of a merciful 
Providence.' 

Cadurcis ground his teeth ; a dark look came over him 
which, when once it rose on his brow, was with difficulty 
dispelled ; and for the remainder of the dinner he continued 
silent and gloomy. 

He was, however, not unobserved by Venetia. She had 
watched his evident attempts to conciliate her mother with 
lively interest ; she had witnessed their failure with sincere 
sorrow. In spite of that stormy interview, the results of 
which, in his hasty departure, and the severance of their 
acquaintance, she had often regretted, she had always re- 
tained for him the greatest affection. During these three 
years he had still, in her inmost heart, remained her own 
Plantagenet, her adopted brother, whom she loved, and in 
whose welfare her feelings were deeply involved. The 
mysterious circumstances of her birth, and the discoveries 
to which they had led, had filled her mind with a fanciful 
picture of human nature, over which she had long brooded- 
A great poet had become her ideal of a man. Sometimes 
she had sighed, when musing over her father and Plan- 
tagenet on the solitary seashore at Weymouth, that Ca- 
durcis, instead of being the merely amiable, and somewhat 
narrow-minded being that she supposed, had not been in- 
vested with those brilliant and commanding qualities which 
she felt could alone master her esteem. Often had she, in 
those abstracted hours, played with her imagination iii 
combining the genius of her father with the soft heart of 
that friend to whom, she was so deeply attached. She had 
wished, in her reveries, that Cadurcis might have been a 
groat man ; that he might have existed in an atmosphere of 



266 VENETIA. 

glory amid the plaudits and admiration of his race; and that 
then he might have turned from all that fame, so dear to 
them both, to the heart which could alone sympathise with 
the native simplicity of his childhood. 

The ladies withdrew. The Bishop and another of the 
guests joined them after a short interval. The rest remained 
below, and drank their wine with the freedom not unusual 
in those days, Lord Cadurcis among them, although it was 
not his habit. But he was not convivial, though he never 
passed the bottle untouched. He was in one of those dark 
humours of which there was a latent spring in his nature, 
but which in old days had been kept in check by his simple 
life, his inexperienced mind, and the general kindness that 
greeted him, and which nothing but the caprice and per- 
versity of his mother could occasionally develope. But 
since the great revolution in his position, since circumstances 
had made him alike acquainted with his nature, and had 
brought all society to acknowledge its superiority ; since he 
had gained and felt his irresistible power, and had found all 
the world, and all the glory of it, at his feet, these moods 
had become more frequent. The slightest reaction in the 
self-complacency that was almost unceasingly stimulated 
by the applause of applauded men and the love of the 
loveliest women, instantly took the shape and found refuge 
in the immediate form of the darkest spleen, generally, 
indeed, brooding in silence, and, if speaking, expressing 
itself only in sarcasm. Cadurcis was indeed, as we have 
already described him, the spoiled child of society ; a fro- 
ward and petted darling, not always to be conciliated by 
kindness, but furious when neglected or controlled. He 
was habituated to triumph ; it had been his lot to come, to 
see, and to conquer : even the procrastination of certain 
success was intolerable to him ; his energetic volition could 
not endure a check. To Lady Annabel Herbert, indeed, he 
was not exactly what he was to others ; there was a spell 
in old associations from which he unconsciously could not 
emancipate himself, and from which it was his opinion he 



VENETIA. 267 

honoured her in not desiring to be free. He had his reasons 
for -wishing to regain his old, his natural influence, over her 
heart ; he did not doubt for an instant that, if Cadurcis 
sued, success must follow the condescending effort. He 
had sued, and he had been met with coldness, almost with 
disdain. He had addressed her in those terms of tender- 
ness which experience had led him to believe were irresis- 
tible, yet to which he seldom had recourse, for hitherto he 
had not been under the degrading necessity of courting. 
He had dwelt with fondness on the insignificant past, be- 
cause it was connected with her; he had regretted, or 
affected even to despise, the glorious present, because it 
seemed, for some indefinite cause, to have estranged him 
from her hearth. Yes ! he had humbled himself before her ; 
he had thrown with disdain at her feet all that dazzling 
fame and expanding glory which seemed his peculiar and 
increasing privilege. He had delicately conveyed to her 
that even these would be sacrificed, not only without a 
sigh, but with cheerful delight, to find himself once more 
living, as of old, in the limited world of her social affections. 
Three years ago he had been rejected by the daughter, be- 
cause he was an undistinguished youth. Now the mother 
recoiled from his fame. And who was this woman ? The 
same cold, stern heart that had alienated the gifted Her- 
bert ; the same narrow, rigid mind that had repudiated 
ties that every other woman in the world would have 
gloried to cherish and acknowledge. And with her he had 
passed his prejudiced youth, and fancied, like an idiot, that 
he had found sympathy ! Yes, so long as he was a slave, 
a mechanical, submissive slave, bowing his mind to all the 
traditionary bigotry which she adored, never daring to 
form an opinion for himself, worshipping her idol, custom, 
and labouring by habitual hypocrisy to perpetuate the de- 
lusions of all around her ! 

In the meantime, while Lord Cadurcis was chewing the 
cud of these bitter feelings, we will take the opportunity of 
explaining the immediate cause of Lady Annabel's frigid 



263 VENETIA. 

reception of his friendly advances. All that she had heard 
of Cadurcis, all the information she had within these few 
days so rapidly acquired of his character and conduct, were 
indeed not calculated to dispose her to witness the renewal 
of their intimacy with feelings of remarkable satisfaction. 
But this morning she had read his poem, the poem that all 
London was talking of, and she had read it with horror. 
She looked upon Cadurcis as a lost man. With her, in- 
deed, since her marriage, an imaginative mind had become 
an object of terror ; but there were some peculiarities in the 
tone of Cadurcis' genius, which magnified to excess her 
general apprehension on this head. She traced, in every 
line, the evidences of a raging vanity, which she was con- 
vinced must prompt its owner to sacrifice, on all occasions, 
every feeling of duty to its gratification. Amid all the 
fervour of rebellious passions, and the violence of a way- 
ward mind, a sentiment of profound egotism appeared to 
her impressed on every page she perused. Great as might 
have been the original errors of Herbert, awful as in her 
estimation were the crimes to which they had led him, they 
might in the first instance be traced rather to a perverted 
view of society than of himself. But self was the idol of 
Cadurcis ; self distorted into a phantom that seemed to Lady 
Annabel pregnant not only with terrible crimes, but with 
the basest and most humiliating vices. The certain degra- 
dation which in the instance of her husband had been the 
consequence of a bad system, would, in her opinion, in the 
case of Cadurcis, be the result of a bad nature ; and when 
she called to mind that there had once been a probability 
that this individual might have become the husband of her 
Venetia, her child whom it had been the sole purpose of 
her life to save from the misery of which she herself had 
been the victim ; that she had even dwelt on the idea with 
complacency, encouraged its progress, regretted its abrupt 
termination, but consoled herself by the flattering hope that 
time, with even more favourable auspices, would mature it 
into fulfilment ; she trembled, and turned pale. 



VENETIA. 269 

It was to the Bishop that, after dinner, Lady Annabel 
expressed some of the feelings which the reappearance of 
Cadurcis had occasioned her. 

' I see nothing but misery for his future,' she exclaimed ; 
' I tremble for him when he addresses me. In spite of the 
glittering surface on which he now floats, I foresee only a 
career of violence, degradation, and remorse.' 

' He is a problem difficult to solve,' replied Masham ; 
' but there are elements not only in his character, but his 
career, so different from those of the person of whom we 
were speaking, that I am not inclined at once to admit, 
that the result must necessarily be the same.' 

' I see none,' replied Lady Annabel ; ' at least none of 
sufficient influence to work any material change.' 

' What think you of his success ? ' replied Masham. 
' Cadurcis is evidently proud of it. With all his affected 
scorn of the world, he is the slave of society. He may 
pique the feelings of mankind, but I doubt whether he will 
outrage them.' 

' He is on such a dizzy eminence,' replied Lady Annabel, 
' that I do not believe he is capable of calculating so finely. 
He does not believe, I am sure, in the possibility of resist- 
ance. His vanity will tempt him onwards.' 

'Not to persecution,' said Masham. ' Now, my opinion 
of Cadurcis is, that his egotism, or selfism, or whatever you 
may style it, will ultimately preserve him from any very 
fatal, from any irrecoverable excesses. He is of the world, 
worldly. All his works, all his conduct, tend only to astonish 
mankind. He is not prompted by any visionary ideas of 
ameliorating his species. The instinct of self-preservation 
will serve him as ballast.' 

' We shall see,' said Lady Annabel ; ' for myself, whatever 
may be his end, I feel assured that great and disgraceful 
vicissitudes are in store for him.' 

' It is strange after what, in comparison with such ex- 
traordinary changes, must be esteemed so brief an interval,' 
observed Masham, with a smile, ' to witness such a revolu- 



270 VENETIA. 

tion in his position. I often think to myself, can this in- 
deed be our little Plantagenet ? ' 

' It is awful ! ' said Lady Annabel ; ' much more than 
strange. For myself, when I recall certain indications of his 
feelings when he was last at Cadurcis, and think for a mo- 
ment of the results to which they might have led, I shiver ; 
I assure you, my dear lord, I tremble from head to foot. 
And I encouraged him ! I smiled with fondness on his 
feelings ! I thought I was securing the peaceful happiness 
of my child ! What can we trust to in this world ! It is 
too dreadful to dwell upon ! It must have been an inter- 
position of Providence that Venetia escaped.' 

' Dear little Venetia,' exclaimed the good Bishop ; ' for I 
believe I shall call her little Venetia to the day of my death. 
How well she looks to-night ! Her aunt is, I think, very 
fond of her! See!' 

'Yes, it pleases me,' said Lady Annabel; but I do wish 
my sister was not such an admirer of Lord Cadurcis' poems. 
You cannot conceive how uneasy it makes me. I am quite 
annoyed that he was asked here to-day. Why ask him ? ' 

' Oh ! there is no harm,' said Masham ; ' you must forget 
the past. By all accounts, Cadurcis is not a marrying man. 
Indeed, as I understood, marriage with him is at present 
quite out of the question. And as for Venetia, she rejected 
him before, and she will, if necessary, reject him again. He 
has been a brother to her, and after that he can be no more. 
Girls never fall in love with those with whom they are 
bred up.' 

' I-hope, I believe there is no occasion for apprehension,' 
replied Lady Annabel ; ' indeed, it has scarcely entered my 
head. The very charms he once admired in Venetia can 
have no sway over him, as I should think, now. I should 
believe him as little capable of appreciating Venetia now, as 
he was when last at Cherbury, of anticipating the change 
in his own character.' 

' You mean opinions, my dear lady, for characters nevei 
change. Believe me, Cadurcis is radically the same as in old 



VENETIA. 271 

days. Circumstances have only developed his latent pre- 
disposition.' 

' Not changed, my dear lord ! what, that innocent, sweet- 
tempered, docile child ' 

'Hush ! here he comes.' 

The Earl and his guests entered the room ; a circle was 
formed round Lady Annabel ; some evening visitors arrived ; 
there was singing. It had not been the intention of Lord 
Cadurcis to return to the drawing-room after his rebuff 
by Lady Annabel ; he had meditated making his peace at 
Monteagle House ; but when the moment of his projected 
departure had arrived, he could not resist the temptation of 
again seeing Venetia. He entered the room last, and some 
moments after his companions. Lady Annabel, who watched 
the general entrance, concluded he had gone, and her atten- 
tion was now fully engaged. Lord Cadurcis remained at 
the end of the room alone, apparently abstracted, and look- 
ing far from amiable ; but his eye, in reality, was watching 
Venetia. Suddenly her aunt approached her, and invited 
the lady who was conversing with Miss Herbert to sing ; 
Lord Cadurcis immediately advanced, and took her seat. 
Yenetia was surprised that for the first time in her life with 
Plantagenet she felt embarrassed. She had met his look 
when he approached her, and had welcomed, or, at least, 
intended to welcome him with a smile, but she was at a loss 
for words ; she was haunted with the recollection of her 
mother's behaviour to him at dinner, and she looked down 
on the ground, far from being at ease. 

' Venetia ! ' said Lord Cadurcis. 

She started. 

' We are alone,' he said ; ' let me call you Venetia when 
we are alone.' 

She did not, she could not reply ; she felt confused ; the 
blood rose to her cheek. 

' How changed is everything ! ' continued Cadurcis. ' To 
think the day should ever arrive when I should have to beg 
your permission to call you Venetia ! ' 



272 VENETIA. 

She looked up ; she met his glance. It was mournful ; 
nay, his eyes were suffused with tears. She saw at her side 
the gentle and melancholy Plantagenet of her childhood. 

'I cannot speak; I am agitated at meeting you,' she said 
with her native frankness. ' It is so long since we have 
been alone ; and, as you say, all is so changed.' 

' But are you changed, Venetia ? ' he said in a voice of 
emotion; ' for all other change is nothing.' 

' I meet you with pleasure,' she replied ; ' I hear of your 
fame with pride. You cannot suppose that it is possible I 
should cease to be interested in your welfare.' 

' Tour mother does not meet me with pleasure; she hears 
of nothing that has occurred to me with pride ; your mother 
has ceased to take an interest in my welfare ; and why should 
you be unchanged? ' 

4 You mistake my mother.' 

4 No, no,' replied Cadurcis, shaking his head, ' I have read 
her inmost soul to-day. Your mother hates me ; me, whom 
she once styled her son. She was a mother once to me, 
and you were my sister. If I have lost her heart, why have 
I not lost yours ? ' 

4 My heart, if you care for it, is unchanged,' said Yenetia. 

4 Venetia, whatever you may think, I never wanted the 
solace of a sister's love more than I do at this moment.' 

4 I pledged my affection to you when we were children,' 
replied Venetia ; ' you have done nothing to forfeit it, and 
it is yours still.' 

' When we were children,' said Cadurcis, musingly ; 
' when we were innocent ; when we were happy. You, at 
least, are innocent still ; are you happy, Venetia ? ' 

' Life has brought sorrows even to me, Plantagenet.' 

The blood deserted his heart when she called him Plan- 
tagenet ; he breathed with difficulty. 

' When I last returned to Cherbury,' he said, 4 you told 
me you were changed, Venetia; you revealed to me on 
another occasion the secret cause of your affliction. I was 
a boy then, a foolish, ignorant boy. Instead of sympathising 



VENETIA. 273 

with your heartfelt anxiety, my silly vanity was offended 
by feelings I should have shared, and soothed, and honoured. 
Ah, Yenetia ! well had it been for one of us that I had con- 
ducted myself more kindly, more wisely.' 

' Nay, Plantagenet, believe me, I remember that interview 
only to regret it. The recollection of it has always occa- 
sioned me great grief. We were both to blame ; but we 
were both children then. We must pardon each other's 
faults.' 

'You will hear, that is, if you care to listen, Venetia, 
much of my conduct and opinions,' continued Lord Cadur- 
cis, ' that may induce you to believe me headstrong and 
capricious. Perhaps I am less of both in all things than 
the world imagines. But of this be certain, that my feelings 
towards you have never changed, whatever you may permit 
them to be ; and if some of my boyish judgments have, as 
was but natural, undergone some transformation, be you, 
my sweet friend, in some degree consoled for the incon- 
sistency, since I have at length learned duly to appreciate 
one of whom we then alike knew little, but whom a natural 
inspiration taught you, at least, justly to appreciate : I need 
not say I mean the illustrious father of your being.' 

Venetia could not restrain her tears ; she endeavoured to 
conceal her agitated countenance behind the fan with which 
she was fortunately provided. 

' To me a forbidden subject,' said Venetia, ' at least with 
them I could alone converse upon it, but one that my mind 
never deserts.' 

' O Venetia ! ' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis with a sigh, 
' would we were both with him ! ' 

' A wild thought,' she murmured, ' and one I must not 
dwell upon.' 

' We shall meet, I hope,' said Lord Cadurcis ; ' we must 
meet, meet often. I called upon your mother to-day, fruit- 
lessly. You must attempt to conciliate her. Why should 
we be parted ? We, at least, are friends, and more than 



274 VENETIA. 

friends. I cannot exist unless we meet, and meet with the 
frankness of old days.' 

' I think you mistake mamma ; I think you may, indeed. 
Remember how lately she has met you, and after how long 
an interval ! A little time, and she will resume her former 
feelings, and believe that you have never forfeited yours. 
Besides, we have friends, mutual friends. My aunt admires 
you, and here I naturally must be a great deal. And the 
Bishop, he still loves you ; that I am sure he does : and 
your cousin, mamma likes your cousin. I am sure if you 
can manage only to be patient, if you will only attempt to 
conciliate a little, all will be as before. Remember, too, 
how changed your position is,' Venetia added with a smile ; 
' you allow me to forget you are a great man, but mamma 
is naturally restrained by all this wonderful revolution. 
When she finds that you really are the Lord Cadurcis whom 
she knew such a very little boy, the Lord Cadurcis who, 
without her aid, would never have been able even to write 
his fine poems, oh ! she must love you again. How can 
she help it ?' 

Cadurcis smiled. ' We shall see,' he said. 'In the mean- 
time do not you desert me, Venetia.' 

' That is impossible,' she replied ; ' the happiest of my 
days have been passed with you. You remember the in- 
scription on the jewel ? I shall keep to my vows.' 

' That was a very good inscription so far as it went,' said 
Cadurcis ; and then, as if a little alarmed at his temerity, 
he changed the subject. 

' Do you know,' said Venetia, after a pause, 'I am treating 
you all this time as a poet, merely in deference to public 
opinion. Not a line have I been permitted to read ; but 
I am resolved to rebel, and you must arrange it all.' 

' Ah ! ' said the enraptured Cadurcis ; ' this is fame ! ' 

At this moment the Countess approached them, and told 
Venetia that her mother wished to speak to her. Lady 
Annabel had discovered the tete-a-te"te, and resolved in- 
stantly to terminate it. Lord Cadurcis, however, who was 



VENETIA. 275 

quick as lightning, read all that was necessary in Venetia's 
look. Instead of instantly retiring, he remained some little 
time longer, talked to the Countess, who was perfectly en- 
chanted with him, even sauntered up to the singers, and 
complimented them, and did not make his bow until he 
had convinced at least the mistress of the mansion, if not 
her sister-in-law, that it was not Venetia Herbert who was 
his principal attraction in this agreeable society. 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE moment he had quitted Yenetia, Lord Cadurcis re- 
turned home. He could not endure the usual routine of 
gaiety after her society ; and his coachman, often waiting 
until five o'clock in the morning at Monteagle House, could 
scarcely assure himself of his good fortune in this exception 
to his accustomed trial of patience. The vis-a-vis stopped, 
and Lord Cadurcis bounded out with a light step and a 
lighter heart. His table was covered with letters. The 
first one that caught his eye was a missive from Lady Mont- 
eagle. Cadurcis seized it like a wild animal darting on its 
prey, tore it in half without opening it, and, grasping the 
poker, crammed it with great energy into the fire. This 
exploit being achieved, Cadurcis began walking up and 
down the room ; and indeed he paced it for nearly a couple 
of hours in a deep reverie, and evidently under a consider- 
able degree of excitement, for his gestures were violent, and 
his voice often audible. At length, about an hour after 
midnight, he rang for his valet, tore off his cravat, and 
hurled it to one corner of the apartment, called for his robe 
de chambre, soda water, and more lights, seated himself, 
and began pouring forth, faster almost than his pen could 
trace the words, the poem that he had been meditating ever 
since he had quitted the roof where he had met Venetia. 
She had expressed a wish to read his poems ; he had re- 

T 2 



276 VENETIA. 

solved instantly to compose one for her solitary perusal. 
Thus he relieved his heart : 



Within a cloistered pile, -whose Gothic towers 
Hose by the margin of a sedgy lake, 
Embosomed in a valley of green bowers, 
And girt by many a grove and ferny brake 
Loved by the antlered deer, a tender youth 
Whom Time to childhood's gentle sway of love 
Still spared ; yet innocent as is the dove, 
Nor wounded yet by Care's relentless tooth ; 
Stood musing, of that fair antique domain 
The orphan lord ! And yet, no childish thought. 
With wayward purpose holds its transient reign 
In his young mind, with deeper feelings fraught ; 
Then mystery all to him, and yet a dream, 
That Time 1 has touched with its revealing beam. 



There came a maiden to that lonely boy, 

And like to him as is the morn to night ; 

Her sunny face a very type of joy, 

And with her soul's unclouded lustre bright. 

Still scantier summers had her brow illumed 

Than that on which she threw a witching smilo, 

Unconscious of the spell that could beguile 

His being of the burthen it was doomed 

By his ancestral blood to bear : a spirit, 

Rife with desponding thoughts and fancies drear, 

A moody soul that men sometimes inherit, 

And worse than all the woes the world may bear. 

But when he met that maiden's dazzling eye, 

He bade each gloomy image baffled fly. 



Amid the shady woods and sunny lawns 
The maiden and the youth now wander, gay 
As the bright birds, and happy as the fawns, 
Their sportive rivals, that around them play ; 
Their light hands linked in love, the golden hours 
Unconscious fly, while thus they graceful roam, 
And careless ever till the voice of home 
Recalled them from their sunshine and their flowers ; 
For then they parted : to his lonely pile 
The orphan-chief, for though his woe to lull, 
The maiden called him brother, her fond smile 
Gladdened another hearth, while his was dull. 
Yet as they parted, she reproved his sadness, 
And for his sake she gaily whispered gladness. 



VENETIA. 277 



She was the daughter of a noble race, 
That beauteous girl, and yet she owed her name 
To one who needs no herald's skill to trace 
His blazoned lineage, for his lofty fame 
Lives in the mouth of men, and distant climes 
.Re-echo his wide glory ; where the brave 
Are honoured, where 'tis noble deemed to save 
A prostrate nation, and for future times 
Work with a high devotion, that no taunt, 
Or ribald lie, or zealot's eager curse, 
Or the short-sighted world's neglect can daunt, 
That name is worshipped ! His immortal verse 
Blends with his god-like deeds, a double spell 
To bind the coming age he loved too well ! 



For, from his ancient home, a scatterling, 

They drove him forth, unconscious of their prize, 

And branded as a vile unhallowed thing, 

The man who struggled only to be wise. 

And even his hearth rebelled, the duteous wife, 

Whose bosom well might soothe in that dark hour, 

Swelled with her gentle force the world's harsh power, 

And aimed her dart at his devoted life. 

That struck ; the rest his mighty soul might scorn, 

But when his household gods averted stood, 

'Twas the last pang that cannot well be borne 

When tortured e'en to torpor : his heart's blood 

Flowed to the unseen blow : then forth he went, 

And gloried in his ruthless banishment. 



A new-born pledge of love within his home, 

His alien home, the exiled father left ; 

And when, like Cain, he wandered forth to roam, 

A Cain without his solace, all bereft, 

Stole down his pallid cheek the scalding tear, 

To think a stranger to his tender love 

His child must grow, untroubled where might rove 

His restless life, or taught perchance to fear 

Her father's name, and bred in sullen hate, 

Shrink from his image. Thus the gentle maid, 

Who with her smiles had soothed an orphan's fate, 

Had felt an orphan's pang ; yet undismayed, 

Though taught to deem her sire the child of shame, 

She clung with instinct to that reverent name ! 



278 VENETIA. 



Time flew ; the boy became a man ; no more 

His shadow falls upon his cloistered hall, 

But to a stirring world he learn'd to pour 

The passion of his being, skilled to call 

From the deep caverns of his musing thought 

Shadows to which they bowed, and on their mind 

To stamp the image of his own ; the wind, 

Though all vinseen, with force or odour fraught, 

Can sway mankind, and thus a poet's voice, 

Now touched with sweetness, now inflamed with rage, 

Though breath, can make us grieve and then rejoice : 

Such is the spell of his creative page, 

That blends with all our moods ; and thoughts can yield 

That all have felt, and yet till then were sealed. 



The lute is sounding in a chamber bright 

With a high festival ; on every side, 

Soft in the gleamy blaze of mellowed light, 

Pair women smile, and dancers graceful glide ; 

And words still sweeter than a serenade 

Are breathed with guarded voice and speaking eyes, 

By joyous hearts in spite of all their sighs ; 

But byegone fantasies that ne'er can fade 

Retain the pensive spirit of the youth ; 

Reclined against a column he surveys 

His laughing compeers with a glance, in sooth, 

Careless of all their mirth: for other days 

Enchain him with their vision, the bright hours 

Passed with th maiden in their sunny bowers. 



Why turns his brow so pale, why starts to life 
That languid eye ? What form before unseen, 
With all the spells of hallowed memory rife, 
Now rises on his vision? As the Queen 
Of Beauty from her bed of sparkling foam 
.Sprang to the azure light, and felt the air, 
Soft as her cheek, the wavy dancers bear 
To his rapt sight a mien that calls his home, 
His cloistered home, before him, with his dreams 
Prophetic strangely blending. The bright muse 
Of his dark childhood still divinely beams 
Upon his being ; glowing with the hues 
That painters love, when raptured pencils soar 
To trace a form that nations may adore ! 



VENETIA. 279 



One word alone, within her thrilling ear, 

Breathed with hushed voice the brother of her heart, 

And that for aye is hidden. With a tear 

Smiling she strove to conquer, see her start, 

The bright blood rising to her quivering cheek, 

And meet the glance she hastened once to greet, 

When not a thought had he, (save in her sweet 

And solacing society; to seek 

Her smiles his only life ! Ah ! happy prime 

Of cloudless purity, no stormy fame 

His unknown sprite then stirred, a golden time 

Worth all the restless splendour of a name ; 

And one soft accent from those gentle lips 

Might all the plaudits of a world eclipse. 



My tale is done ; and if some deem it strange 

My fancy thus should droop, deign then to learn 

My tale is truth : imagination's range 

Its bounds exact may touch not: to discern 

Far stranger things than poets ever feign, 

In life's perplexing annals, is the fate 

Of those who act, and musing, penetrate 

The mystery of Fortune : to whose reign 

The haughtiest brow must bend ; 'twas passing strange 

The youth of these fond children ; strange the flush 

Of his high fortunes and his spirit's change ; 

Strange was the maiden's tear, the maiden's blush ; 

Strange were his musing thoughts and trembling heart, 

"Tis strange they met, and stranger if they part ! 



CHAPTER XII. 

WHEN Lady Monteagle discovered, which she did a very 
few hours after the mortifying event, where Lord Cadurcis 
had dined the day on which he had promised to be her 
guest, she was very indignant, but her vanity was more 
offended than her self-complacency. She was annoyed that 
Cadurcis should have compromised his exalted reputation 
by so publicly dangling in the train of the new beauty : 
still more that he should have signified in so marked a 
manner the impression which the fair stranger had made 



280 VENETIA. 

upon him, by instantly accepting an invitation to a house 
so totally unconnected with his circle, and where, had it 
not been to meet this Miss Herbert, it would of course never 
have entered his head to be a visitor. But, on the whole, 
Lady Monteagle was rather irritated than jealous ; and far 
from suspecting that there was the slightest chance of her 
losing her influence, such as it might be, over Lord Cadur- 
cis, all that she felt was, that less lustre must redound to her 
from its possession and exercise, if it were obvious to the 
world that his attentions could be so easily attracted and 
commanded. 

When Lord Cadurcis, therefore, having dispatched his 
poem to Venetia, paid his usual visit on the next day to 
Monteagle House, he was received rather with sneers than 
reproaches, as Lady Monteagle, with no superficial know- 
ledge of society or his lordship's character, was clearly of 
opinion that this new fancy of her admirer was to be treated 
rather with ridicule than indignation ; and, in short, as she 
had discovered that Cadurcis was far from being insensible 
to mockery, that it was clearly a fit occasion, to use a phrase 
then very much in vogue, for quizzing. 

' How d'ye do?' said her ladyship, with an arch smile, 'I 
really could not expect to see you ! ' 

Cadurcis looked a little confused ; he detested scenes, and 
now he dreaded one. 

' You seem quite distrait,' continued Lady Monteagle, 
after a moment's pause, which his lordship ought to have 
broken. ' But no wonder, if the world be right.' 

' The world cannot be wrong,' said Cadurcis sarcastically. 

' Had you a pleasant party yesterday ? ' 

' Very.' 

' Lady must have been quite charmed to have you 

at last,' said Lady Monteagle. ' I suppose she exhibited 
you to all her friends, as if you were one of the savages that 
went to Court the other day.' 

' She was courteous.' 

' Oh ! I can fancy her flutter ! For my part, if there be 



VENETIA. 281 

one character in the world more odious than another, I 

think it is a fussy woman. Lady , with Lord Cadurcis 

dining with her, and the new beauty for a niece, must have 
been in a most delectable state of bustle.' 

' I thought she was rather quiet,' said her companion 
with provoking indifference. ' She seemed to me an agree- 
able person.' 

' I suppose you mean Miss Herbert ? ' said Lady Mont- 
eagle. 

' Oh ! these are moderate expressions to use in reference 
to a person like Miss Herbert.' 

' You know what they said of you two at Ranelagh ? ' said 
her ladyship. 

' No,' said Lord Cadurcis, somewhat changing colour, 
and speaking through his teeth ; ' something devilish 
pleasant, I dare say.' 

'They call you Sedition and Treason,' said Lady Mont- 
eagle. 

' Then we are well suited,' said Lord Cadurcis. 

' She certainly is a beautiful creature,' said her ladyship. 

' 1 think so,' said Lord Cadurcis. 

' Rather too tall, I think.' 

' Do you ? ' 

' Beautiful complexion certainly ; wants delicacy, I think.' 

' Do you ? ' 

' Fine eyes ! Grey, I believe. Cannot say I admire 
grey eyes. Certain sign of bad temper, I believe, grey 
eyes ? ' 

' Are they ? ' 

' I did not observe her hand. I dare say a little coarse. 
Fair people who are tall generally fail in the hand and arm. 
What sort of a hand and arm has she ? ' 

' I did not observe anything coarse about Miss Herbert.' 

' Ah ! you admire her. And you have cause. No one 
can deny she is a fine girl, and every one must regret, that 
with her decidedly provincial air and want of style altogether, 
which might naturally be expected, considering the rustic 



282 VENETIA. 

way I understand she has been brought up (an old house in 
the country, with a methodistical mother), that she should 

have fallen into such hands as her aunt. Lady is 

enough to spoil any girl's fortune in London.' 

' I thought that the were people of high considera- 
tion,' said Lord Cadurcis. 

' Consideration ! ' exclaimed Lady Monteagle. ' If you 
mean that they are people of rank, and good blood, and 
good property, they are certainly people of consideration ; 
but they are Goths, Vandals, Huns, Calmucks, Canadian 
savages ! They have no fashion, no style, no ton, no in- 
fluence in the world. It is impossible that a greater mis- 
fortune could have befallen your beauty than having such 
an aunt. Why, no man who has the slightest regard for 
his reputation would be seen in her company. She is a 
regular quiz, and you cannot imagine how everybody was 
laughing at you the other night.' 

' I am very much obliged to them,' said Lord Cadurcis. 

'And, upon my honour,' continued Lady Monteagle, 
' speaking merely as your friend, and not being the least 
jealous (Cadurcis do not suppose that), not a twinge has 
crossed my mind on that score ; but still I must tell you 
that it was most ridiculous for a man like you, to whom 
everybody looks up, and from whom the slightest attention 
is an honour, to go and fasten yourself the whole night upon 
a rustic simpleton, something between a wax doll and a 
dairymaid, whom every fool in London was staring at ; the 
very reason why you should not have appeared to have been 
even aware of her existence.' 

'We have all our moments of weakness, Gertrude,' said 
Lord Cadurcis, charmed that the lady was so thoroughly 
unaware and unsuspicious of his long and intimate connec- 
tion with the Herberts. ' I suppose it was my cursed vanity. 
I saw, as you say, every fool staring at her, and so I de- 
termined to show that in an instant I could engross her 
attention.' 

' Of course, I know it was only that ; but you should not 



VENETIA. 283 

have gone and dined there, Cadurcis,' added the lady, very 
seriously. ' That compromised you ; but, by cutting them 
in future in the most marked manner, you may get 
over it.' 

' You really think I may ? ' inquired Lord Cadurcis, with 
some anxiety. 

' Oh ! I have no doubt of it,' said Lady Monteagle. 

'"What it is to have a friend like you, Gertrude,' said 
Cadurcis, ' a friend who is neither a Goth, nor a Vandal, 
nor a Hun, nor a Calmuck, nor a Canadian savage ; but a 
woman of fashion, style, ton, influence in the world ! It is 
impossible that a greater piece of good fortune could have 
befallen me than having you for a friend.' 

'Ah, mediant ! you may mock,' said the lady, triumph- 
antly, for she was quite satisfied with the turn the con- 
versation had taken ; ' but I am glad for your sake that 
you take such a sensible view of the case.' 

Notwithstanding, however, this sensible view of the case, 
after lounging an hour at Monteagle House, Lord Cadurcis' 
carriage stopped at the door of Venetia's Gothic aunt. He 
was not so fortunate as to meet his heroine ; but, neverthe- 
less, he did not esteem his time entirely thrown away, and 
consoled himself for the disappointment by confirming the 
favourable impression he had already made in this establish- 
ment, and cultivating an intimacy which he was assured 
must contribute many opportunities of finding himself in 
the society of Venetia. From this day, indeed, he was a 
frequent guest at her uncle's, and generally contrived also 
to meet her several times in the week at some great as- 
sembly ; but here, both from the occasional presence of 
Lady Monteagle, although party spirit deterred her from 
attending many circles where Cadurcis was now an habitual 
visitant, and from the crowd of admirers who surrounded 
the Herberts, he rarely found an opportunity for any private 
conversation with Venetia. His friend the Bishop also, 
notwithstanding the prejudices of Lady Annabel, received 
him always with cordiality, and he met the Herberts more 



284 VENETIA. 

than once at his mansion. At the opera and in the park 
also he hovered about them, in spite of the sarcasms or 
reproaches of Lady Monteagle ; for the reader is not to 
suppose that that lady continued to take the same self- 
complacent view of Lord Cadurcis' acquaintance with the 
Herberts which she originally adopted, and at first flattered 
herself was the just one. His admiration of Miss Herbert 
had become the topic of general conversation ; it could no 
longer be concealed or disguised. But Lady Monteagle was 
convinced that Cadurcis was not a marrying man, and per- 
suaded herself that this was a fancy which must evaporate. 
Moreover, Monteagle House still continued his spot of most 
constant resort ; for his opportunities of being with Venetia 
were, with all his exertions, limited, and he had no other 
resource which pleased him so much as the conversation 
and circle of the bright goddess of his party. After some 
fiery scenes therefore with the divinity, which only led to 
his prolonged absence, for the profound and fervent genius 
of Cadurcis revolted from the base sentiment and mock 
emotions of society, the lady reconciled herself to her lot, 
still believing herself the most envied woman in London, 
and often ashamed of being jealous of a country girl. 

The general result of the fortnight which elapsed since 
Cadurcis renewed his acquaintance with his Cherbury friends 
was, that he had become convinced of his inability of pro- 
pitiating Lady Annabel, was devotedly attached to Yenetia, 
though he had seldom an opportunity of intimating feelings, 
which the cordial manner in which she ever conducted her- 
self to him gave him no reason to conclude desperate ; at 
the same time that he had contrived that a day should 
seldom elapse, which did not under some circumstances, 
however unfavourable, bring them together, while her inti- 
mate friends and the circles in which she passed most of 
her life always witnessed his presence with favour. 



VENETIA. 285 



CHAPTER XIII. 

WE must, however, endeavour to be more intimately ac- 
quainted with the heart and mind of Venetia in her present 
situation, so strongly contrasting with the serene simplicity 
of her former life, than the limited and constrained oppor- 
tunities of conversing with the companion of his childhood 
enjoyed by Lord Cadurcis could possibly enable him to be- 
come. Let us recur to her on the night when she returned 
home, after having met with Plantagenet at her uncle's, and 
having pursued a conversation with him, so unexpected, so 
strange, and so affecting ! She had been silent in the car- 
riage, and retired to her room immediately. She retired to 
ponder. The voice of Cadurcis lingered in her ear ; his 
tearful eye still caught her vision. She leant her head upon 
her hand, and sighed ! Why did she sigh ? What at this 
instant was her uppermost thought ? Her mother's dislike 
of Cadurcis. ' Your mother hates me.' These had been 
his words ; these were the words she repeated to herself, 
and on whose fearful sounds she dwelt. ' Your mother 
hates me.' If by some means she had learnt a month ago 
at Weymouth, that her mother hated Cadnrcis, that his 
general conduct had been such as to excite Lady Annabel's 
odium, Venetia might have for a moment been shocked that 
her old companion in whom she had once been so interested, 
had by his irregular behaviour incurred the dislike of her 
mother, by whom he had once been so loved. But it would 
have been a transient emotion. She might have mused over 
past feelings and past hopes in a solitary ramble on the sea- 
shore ; she might even have shed a tear over the misfortunes 
or infelicity of one who had once been to her a brother ; but, 
perhaps, nay probably, on the morrow the remembrance of 
Plantagenet would scarcely have occurred to her. Long 
years had elapsed since their ancient fondness ; a consi- 
derable interval since even his name had met her ear. She 



286 VENETIA. 

had heard nothing of him that could for a moment arrest 
her notice or command her attention. 

But now the irresistible impression that her mother dis- 
liked this very individual filled her with intolerable grief. 
What occasioned this change in her feelings, this extraor- 
dinary difference in her emotions ? There was, apparently, 
but one cause. She had met Cadurcis. Could then a glance, 
could even the tender intonations of that unrivalled voice, 
and the dark passion of that speaking eye, work in an instant 
such marvels ? Could they revive the past so vividly, that 
Plantagenet in a moment resumed his ancient place in her 
affections ? No, it was not that : it was less the tenderness 
of the past that made Venetia mourn her mother's sternness 
to Cadurcis, than the feelings of the future. For now she 
felt that her mother's heart was not more changed towards 
this personage than was her own. 

It seemed to Venetia that even before they met, from the 
very moment that his name had so strangely caught her 
eye in the volume on the first evening she had visited her 
relations, that her spirit suddenly turned to him. She had 
never heard that name mentioned since without a fluttering 
of the heart which she could not repress, and an emotion 
she could ill conceal. She loved to hear others talk of him, 
and yet scarcely dared speak of him herself. She recalled 
her emotion at unexpectedly seeing his portrait when with 
her aunt, and her mortification when her mother deprived 
her of the poem which she sighed to read. Day after day 
something seemed to have occurred to fix her brooding 
thoughts with fonder earnestness on his image. At length 
they met. Her emotion when she first recognised him at 
Ranelagh and felt him approaching her, was one of those 
tumults of the heart that form almost a crisis in our sensa- 
tions. With what difficulty had she maintained herself! 
Doubtful whether he would even formally acknowledge her 
presence, her vision as if by fascination had nevertheless 
met his, and grew dizzy as he passed. In the interval that 
had elapsed between his first passing and then joining her, 



VENETIA. 287 

what a chaos was her mind ! "What a wild blending of 
all the scenes and incidents of her life ! What random 
answers had she made to those with whom she had been 
before conversing with ease and animation ! And then, 
when she unexpectedly found Cadurcis at her side, and 
listened to the sound of that familiar voice, familiar and 
yet changed, expressing so much tenderness in its tones, 
and in its words such deference and delicate respect, exist- 
ence felt to her that moment affluent with a blissful ex- 
citement of which she had never dreamed ! 

Her life was a reverie until they met again, in which she 
only mused over his fame, and the strange relations of their 
careers. She had watched the conduct of her mother to 
him at dinner with poignant sorrow ; she scarcely believed 
that she should have an opportunity of expressing to him 
her sympathy. And then what had followed ? A conver- 
sation, every word of which had touched her heart ; a con- 
versation that would have entirely controlled her feelings 
even if he had not already subjected them. The tone in 
which he so suddenly had pronounced ' Venetia,' was the 
sweetest music to which she had ever listened. His allusion 
to her father had drawn tears, which could not be re- 
strained even in a crowded saloon. Now she wept plen- 
teously. It was so generous, so noble, so kind, so affection- 
ate ! Dear, dear Cadurcis, is it wonderful that you should 
be loved ? 

Then falling into a reverie of sweet and unbroken still- 
ness, with her eyes fixed in abstraction on the fire, Venetia 
reviewed her life from the moment she had known Planta- 
genet. Not an incident that had ever occurred to them 
that did not rise obedient to her magical bidding. She 
loved to dwell upon the time when she was the consolation 
of his sorrows, and when Cherbury was to him a pleasant 
refuge ! Oh ! she felt sure her mother must remember 
those fond days, and love him as she once did ! She pictured 
to herself the little Plantagenet of her childhood, so serious 
and so pensive when alone or with others, yet with her at 



288 VENETIA. 

times so gay and wild, and sarcastic ; forebodings all of that 
deep and brilliant spirit, which had since stirred up the 
heart of a great nation, and dazzled the fancy of an admir- 
ing world. The change too in their mutual lots was also, 
to a degree, not free from that sympathy that had ever 
bound them together. A train of strange accidents had 
brought Venetia from her spell-bound seclusion, placed her 
suddenly in the most brilliant circle of civilisation, and 
classed her among not the least admired of its favoured 
members. And whom had she come to meet ? Whom 
did she find in this new and splendid life the most courted 
and considered of its community, crowned as it were with 
garlands, and perfumed with the incense of a thousand 
altars ? Her own Plantagenet. It was passing strange. 

The morrow brought the verses from Cadurcis. They 
greatly affected her. The picture of their childhood, and 
of the singular sympathy of their mutual situations, and 
the description of her father, called forth her tears ; she 
murmured, however, at the allusion to her other parent. It 
was not just, it could not be true. These verses were not, 
of course, shown to Lady Annabel. Would they have been 
shown, even if they had not contained the allusion ? The 
question is not perplexing. Venetia had her secret, and a 
far deeper one than the mere reception of a poem ; all con- 
fidence between her and her mother had expired. Love 
had stept in, and, before his magic touch, the discipline of a 
life expired in an instant. 

From all this an idea may be formed of the mood in 
which, during the fortnight before alluded to, Venetia was 
in the habit of meeting Lord Cadurcis. During this period 
not the slightest conversation respecting him had occurred 
between her mother and herself. Lady Annabel never 
mentioned him, and her brow clouded when his name, as 
was often the case, was introduced. At the end of this 
fortnight, it happened that her aunt and mother were out 
together in the carriage, and had left her in the course of 
the morning at her uncle's house. During this interval, 



VENETIA. 289 

Lord Cadurcis called, and having ascertained, through a 
garrulous servant, that though his mistress was out, Miss 
Herbert was in the drawing-room, he immediately took the 
opportunity of being introduced. Venetia was not a little 
surprised at his appearance, and, conscious of her mother's 
feelings upon the subject, for a moment a little agitated, 
yet, it must be confessed, as much pleased. Shs seized this 
occasion of speaking to him about his verses, for hitherto 
she bad only been able to acknowledge the receipt of them 
by a word. While she expressed without affectation the 
emotions they had occasioned her, she complained of his 
injustice to her mother : this was the cause of an interesting 
conversation of which her father was the subject, and for 
which she had long sighed. With, what deep, unbroken 
attention she listened to her companion's enthusiastic de- 
lineation of his character and career ! What multiplied 
questions did she not ask him, and how eagerly, how amply, 
how affectionately he satisfied her just and natural curiosity ! 
Hours flew away while they indulged in this rare com- 
munion. 

' Oh, that T could see him ! ' sighed Venetia. 

' You will,' replied Plantagenet ; ' your destiny requires 
it. You will see him as surely as you beheld that por- 
trait that it was the labour of a life to prevent you be- 
holding.' 

Venetia shook her head ; 'And yet,' she added musingly, 
' my mother loves him.' 

' Her life proves it,' said Cadui-cis bitterly. 

' I think it does,' replied Venetia, sincerely. 

' I pretend not to understand her heart,' he answered ; ' it 
is an enigma that I cannot solve. I ought not to believe 
that she is without one ; but, at any rate, her pride is deeper 
than her love.' 

' They were ill suited,' said Venetia, mournfully ; ' and 
yet it is one of my dreams that they may yet meet.' 

' Ah, Venetia ! ' he exclaimed, in a voice of great softness, 

u 



290 VENETIA. 

' they had not known each other from their childhood, like 
us. They met, and they parted, alike in haste.' 

Venetia made no reply ; her eyes were fixed in abstrac- 
tion on a handscreen, which she was unconscious that she 
held. 

' Tell me,' said Cadurcis, drawing his chair close to hers ; 
' tell me, Venetia, if ' 

At this moment a thundering knock at the door an- 
nounced the return of the Countess and her sister-in-law. 
Cadurcis rose from his seat, but his chair, which still re- 
mained close to that on which Venetia was sitting, did not 
escape the quick glance of her mortified mother. The 
Countess welcomed Cadurcis with extreme cordiality; Lady 
Annabel only returned his very courteous bow. 

' Stop and dine with us, my dear lord,' said the Coun- 
tess. 'We are only ourselves, and Lady Annabel and 
Venetia.' 

' I thank you, Clara,' said Lady Annabel, ' but we cannot 
stop to-day.' 

' Oh ! ' exclaimed her sister. ' It will be such a dis- 
appointment to Philip. Indeed you must stay,' she added, 
in a coaxing tone ; ' we shall be such an agreeable little 
party, with Lord Cadurcis.' 

' I cannot indeed, my dear Clara,' replied Lady Annabel ; 
' not to-day, indeed not to-day. Come Venetia ! ' 



CHAPTER XIV. 

LADY ANNABEL was particularly kind to Venetia on their 
return to their hotel, otherwise her daughter might have 
fancied that she had offended her, for she was silent. 
Venetia did not doubt that the presence of Lord Cadurcis 
was the reason that her mother would not remain and dine 
at her uncle's. This conviction grieved Venetia, but she 
did not repine ; she indulged the fond hope that time would 
remove the strong prejudice which Lady Annabel now so 



VENETIA. 291 

singularly entertained against one in whose welfare she 
was originally so deeply interested. During their simple 
and short repast Yenetia was occupied in a reverie, in 
which, it must be owned, Cadurcis greatly figured, and an- 
swered the occasional though kind remarks of her mother 
with an absent air. 

After dinner, Lady Annabel drew her chair towards the 
fire, for, although May, the weather was chill, and said, 'A 
quiet evening at home, Yenetia, will be a relief after all this 
gaiety.' Yenetia assented to her mother's observation, and 
nearly a quarter of an hour elapsed without another word 
being spoken. Yenetia had taken up a book, and Lady 
Annabel was apparently lost in her reflections. At length 
she said, somewhat abruptly, ' It is more than three years, I 
tliink, since Lord Cadurcis left Cherbury ? ' 

' Tes ; it is more than three years,' replied Yenetia. 

' He quitted us suddenly.' 

' Yery suddenly,' agreed Yenetia. 

' I never asked you whether you knew the cause, Yenetia,' 
continued her mother, ' but I always concluded that you 
did. I suppose I was not in error ? ' 

This was not a very agreeable inquiry. Yenetia did not 
reply to it with her previous readiness and indifference. That 
indeed was impossible ; but, with her accustomed frankness, 
after a moment's hesitation, she answered, ' Lord Cadurcis 
never specifically stated the cause to me, mamma ; indeed I 
was myself surprised at his departure, but some conver- 
sation had occurred between us on the very morning he 
quitted Cadurcis, which, on reflection, I could not doubt 
occasioned that departure.' 

' Lord Cadurcis preferred his suit to you, Yenetia, and 
you rejected him ?' said Lady Annabel. 

' It is as you believe,' replied Yenetia, not a little agitated. 

' You did wisely, my child, and I was weak ever to have 
regretted your conduct.' 

' Why should you think so, dearest mamma ? ' 

' Whatever may have been the cause that impelled your 
u 2 



292 VENETIA. 

conduct then,' said Lady Annabel, ' I shall ever esteem your 
decision as a signal interposition of Providence in your 
favour. Except his extreme youth, there was apparently 
no reason which should not have induced you to adopt a 
different decision. I tremble when I think what might 
have been the consequences.' 

' Tremble, dearest mother ? ' 

' Tremble, Venetia. My only thought in this life is the 
happiness of my child. It was in peril. 

' Nay, I trust not that, mamma : you are prejudiced 
against Plantagenet. It makes me very unhappy, and him 
also.' 

' He is again your suitor ? ' said Lady Annabel, with a 
scrutinising glance. 

' Indeed he is not.' 

' He will be,' said Lady Annabel. ' Prepare yourself. 
Tell me, then, are your feelings the same towards him as 
when he last quitted us ?' 

' Feelings, mamma ! ' said Venetia, echoing her mother's 
words ;' for indeed the question was one very difficult to 
answer ; ' I ever loved Plantagenet ; I love him still.' 

' But do you love him now as then ? Then you looked 
upon him as a brother. He has no soul now for sisterly 
affections. I beseech you tell me, my child, me, your 
mother, your friend, your best, your only friend, tell me, 
have you for a moment repented that you ever refused to 
extend to him any other affection?' 

' I have not thought of the subject, mamma ; I have not 
wished to think of the subject ; I have had no occasion to 
think of it. Lord Cadurcis is not my suitor now.' 

' Venetia ! ' said Lady Annabel, ' I cannot doubt you love 
me.' 

' Dearest mother ! ' exclaimed Veuetia, in a tone of min- 
gled fondness and reproach, and she rose from her seat and 
embraced Lady Annabel. 

'My happiness is an object to you, Venetia?' continued 
Lady Annabel. 



VENETIA. 293 

' Mother, mother,' said Venetia, in a deprecatory tone. 
' Do not ask such cruel questions ? Whom should I love 
but you, the best, the dearest mother that ever existed ? 
And what object can I have in life that for a moment can 
be placed in competition with your happiness ?' 

' Then, Venetia, I tell you,' said Lady Annabel, in a 
solemn yet excited voice, ' that that happiness is gone for 
ever, nay, my very life will be the forfeit, if I ever live to 
see you the bride of Lord Cadurcis.' 

' I have no thought of being the bride of any one,' said 
Venetia. ' I am happy with you. I wish, never to leave you.' 

' My child, the fulfilment of such a wish, is not in the 
nature of things,' replied Lady Annabel. ' The day will come 
when we must part ; I am prepared for the event ; nay, 1 
look forward to it not only with resignation, but delight, 
when I think it may increase your happiness ; but were 
that step to destroy it, oh ! then, then I could live no more. 
I can endure my own sorrows, I can struggle with my own 
bitter lot, I have some sources of consolation which enable 
me to endure my own misery without repining ; but yours, 
yours, Venetia, I could not bear. No ! if once I were to 
behold you lingering in life as your mother, with blighted 
hopes and with a heart broken, if hearts can break, I should 
not survive the spectacle ; I know myself, Veuetia, I could 
not survive it.' 

' But why anticipate such misery ? Why indulge in such 
gloomy forebodings ? Am I not happy now ? Do you not 
love me ? ' 

Venetia had drawn her chair close to that of her mother ; 
she sat by her side and held her hand. 

' Venetia,' said Lady Annabel, after a pause of some 
minutes, and in a low voice, ' I must speak to you on a 
subject on which we have never conversed. I must speak 
to you ;' and here Lady Annabel's voice dropped lower and 
lower, but still its tones were distinct, although she ex- 
pressed herself with evident effort : ' I must speak to you 
about your father.' 



291 VENETIA. 

Venetia uttered a faint cry, she clenched her mother's 
hand with a convulsive grasp, and sank upon her bosom. 
She struggled to maintain herself, but the first sound of 
that name from her mother's lips, and all the long-sup- 
pressed emotions that it conjured up, overpowered her. 
The blood seemed to desert her heart ; still she did not faint ; 
she clung to Lady Annabel, pallid and shivering. 

Her mother tenderly embraced her, she whispered to her 
words of great affection, she attempted to comfort and con- 
sole her. Venetia murmured, ' This is very foolish of me, 
mother ; but speak, oh ! speak of what I have so long 
desired to hear.' 

' Not now, Venetia.' 

' JSTow, mother ! yes, now ! I am quite composed. I could 
not bear the postponement of what you were about to say. 
I could not sleep, dear mother, if you did not speak to me. 
It was only for a moment I was overcome. See ! I am quite 
composed.' And indeed she spoke in a calm and steady 
voice, but her pale and suffering countenance expressed 
the painful straggle which it cost her to command herself. 

' Venetia,' said Lady Annabel, ' it has been one of the 
objects of my life, that you should not share my sorrows.' 

Venetia pressed her mother's hand, but made no other 
reply. 

' I concealed from you for years,' continued Lady Annabel, 
' a circumstance in which, indeed, you were deeply in- 
terested, but the knowledge of which could only bring you 
unhappiness. Tet it was destined that my solicitude should 
eventually be baffled. I know that it is not from my lips 
that you learn for the first time that you have a father, a 
father living.' 

' Mother, let me tell you all ! ' said Venetia, eagerly. 

' I know all,' said Lady Annabel. 

' But, mother, there is something that you do not know ; 
and now I would confess it.' 

' There is nothing that you can confess with which I am 
not acquainted, Venetia ; and I feel assured, I have ever 



VENETIA. 295 

folt assured, that your only reason for concealment was a 
desire to save me pain.' 

'That, indeed, has ever been my only motive,' replied 
Yenetia, ' for having a secret from my mother.' 

' In my absence from Cherbury you entered the chamber,' 
said Lady Annabel, calmly. ' In the delirium of your fever 
I became acquainted with a circumstance which so nearly 
proved fatal to you.' 

Venetia's cheek turned scarlet. 

* In that chamber you beheld the portrait of your father,' 
continued Lady Annabel. ' From our friend you learnt that 
father was still living. That is all ? ' said Lady Annabel, 
inquiringly. 

' No, not all, dear mother ; not all. Lord Cadurcis re- 
proached me at Cherbury with, with, with having such a 
father,' she added, in a hesitating voice. ' It was then I 
learnt his misfortunes, mother ; his misery.' 

' I thought that misfortunes, that misery, were the lot of 
your other parent,' replied Lady Annabel, somewhat coldly. 

' Not with my love,' said Yenetia, eagerly ; ' not with my 
love, mother. You have forgotten your misery in my love. 
Say so, say so, dearest mother.' And Yenetia threw herself 
on her knees before Lady Annabel, and looked up with 
earnestness in her face. 

The expression of that countenance had been for a moment 
stern, but it relaxed into fondness, as Lady Annabel gently 
bowed her head, and pressed her lips to her daughter's 
forehead. ' Ah, Yenetia ! ' she said, ' all depends upon 
you. I can endure, nay, I can forget the past, if my child 
be faithful to me. There are no misfortunes, there is 
no misery, if the being to whom I have consecrated the 
devotion of my life will only be dutiful, will only be guided 
by my advice, will only profit by my sad experience.' 

'Mother, I repeat I have no thought but for you,' said 
Yenetia. ' My own dearest mother, if my duty, if my devo- 
tion can content you, you shall be happy. But wherein 
have I failed ? ' 



296 VENETIA. 

' In nothing, love. Your life has hitherto been one un- 
broken course of affectionate obedience.' 

' And ever shall be,' said Venetia. ' But you were speak- 
ing, mother, you were speaking of, of my, my father ! ' 

' Of him ! ' said Lady Annabel, thoughtfully. ' You have 
seen his picture ? ' 

Venetia kissed her mother's hand. 

' Was he less beautiful tiian Cadurcis ? Was he less 
gifted ? ' exclaimed Lady Annabel, with animation. ' He 
could whisper in tones as sweet, and pour out his vows as 
fervently. Yet what am I ? my child ! ' continued 
Lady Annabel, ' beware of such beings ! They bear within 
them a spirit on which all the devotion of our sex is lavished 
in vain. A year, no ! not a year, not one short year ! and 
all my hopes were blighted ! Venetia ! if your future 
should be like my bitter past ! and it might have been, and 
I might have contributed to the fulfilment ! can you wonder 
that I should look upon Cadurcis with aversion ? ' 

' But, mother, dearest mother, we have known Planta- 
genet from his childhood. You ever loved him ; you ever 
gave him credit for a heart, most tender and affectionate/ 

'He has no heart.' 

' Mother ! ' 

' He cannot have a heart. Spirits like him are heartless. 
It is another impulse that sways their existence. It is 
imagination ; it is vanity ; it is self, disguised with glitter- 
ing qualities that dazzle our weak senses, but selfishness, 
the most entire, the most concentrated. We knew him as 
a child : ah ! what can women know ? We are born to love, 
and to be deceived. We saw him young, helpless, aban- 
doned ; he moved our pity. We knew not his nature ; then 
he was ignorant of it himself. But the young tiger, though 
cradled at our hearths and fed on milk, will in good time 
retire to its jungle and prey on blood. You cannot change 
its nature ; and the very hand that fostered it will be its 
first victim.' 

' How often have we parted ! ' said Venetia, in a depre- 



VENETIA. 297 

eating tone ; ' how long have we been separated ! and yet 
we find him ever the same ; he ever loves us. Yes ! dear 
mother, he loves you now, the same as in old days. If yon 
had seen him, as I have seen him, weep when he recalled 
your promise to be a parent to him, and then contrasted 
with such sweet hopes your present reserve, oh ! you would 
believe he had a heart, you would, indeed ! ' 

' Weep ! ' exclaimed Lady Annabel, bitterly, ' ay ! they 
can weep. Sensibility is a luxury which they love to in- 
dulge. Their very susceptibility is our bane. They can 
weep; ihey can play upon our feelings; and our emotion, so 
easily excited, is an homage to their own power, in which 
they glory. 

' Look at Cadurcis,' she suddenly resumed ; ' bred with 
so much care ; the soundest principles instilled into him 
with such sedulousness ; imbibing them apparently with 
so much intelligence, ardour, and sincerity, with all that 
fervour, indeed, with which men of his temperament for 
the moment pursue every object ; but a few years back, 
pious, dutiful, and moral, viewing perhaps with intolerance 
too youthful all that differed from the opinions and the con- 
duct he had been educated to admire and follow. And what 
is he now ? The most lawless of the wild ; casting to the 
winds every salutary principle of restraint and social dis- 
cipline, and glorying only in the abandoned energy of self. 
Three years ago, you yourself confessed to me, he reproached 
you with your father's conduct ; now he emulates it. There 
is a career which such men must run, and from which no 
influence can divert them; it is in their blood. To-day 
Cadurcis may vow to you eternal devotion ; but, if the 
world speak truth, Venetia, a month ago he was equally 
enamoured of another, a,nd one, too, who cannot be his. 
But grant that his sentiments towards you are for the mo- 
ment sincere ; his imagination broods upon your idea, it 
transfigures it with a halo which exists only to his vision. 
Yield to him ; become his bride ; and you will have the 
mortification of finding that, before six months have elapsed, 



298 VENETIA. 

his restless spirit is already occupied with, objects which 
may excite your mortification, your disgust, even your 
horror ! ' 

' Ah, mother ! it is not with Plantagenet as with my 
father ; Plantagenet could not forget Cherbury, he could 
not forget our childhood,' said Yenetia. 

' On the contrary, while you lived together these recol- 
lections would be wearisome, common-place to him ; when 
you had separated, indeed, mellowed by distance, and the 
comparative vagueness with which your absence would 
invest them, they would become the objects of his muse, 
and he would insult you by making the public the confidant 
of all your most delicate domestic feelings.' 

Lady Annabel rose from her seat, and walked up and 
down the room, speaking with an excitement veiy unusual 
with her. ' To have all the soft secrets of your life revealed 
to the coarse wonder of the gloating multitude ; to find 
yourself the object of the world's curiosity, still worse, 
their pity, their sympathy ; to have the sacred conduct of 
your hearth canvassed in every circle, and be the grand 
subject of the pros and cons of every paltry journal, ah, 
Venetia ! you know not, you cannot understand, it is impos- 
sible you can comprehend, the bitterness of such a lot.' 

'My beloved mother!' said Venetia, with streaming 
eyes, 'you cannot have a feeling that I do not share.' 

' Yenetia, you know not what I had to endure ! ' exclaimed 
Lady Annabel, in a tone of extreme bitterness. ' There is 
no degree of wretchedness that you can conceive equal to 
what has been the life of your mother. And what has sus- 
tained me ; what, throughout all my tumultuous troubles, 
has been the star on which I have ever gazed ? My child ! 
And am I to lose her now, after all my sufferings, all my 
hopes that she at least might be spared my miserable doom ? 
Am I to witness her also a victim ? ' Lady Annabel clasped 
her hands in passionate grief. 

' Mother ! mother ! ' exclaimed Yenetia, in agony, ' spare 
yourself, spare me ! ' 



VENETIA. 299 

' Yenetia, you know how I have doted upon you ; you 
know how I have watched and tended you from your 
infancy. Have I had a thought, a wish, a hope, a plan ? 
has there been the sligtest action of my life, of which you 
have not been the object ? All mothers feel, but none ever 
felt like me ; you were my solitary joy.' 

Venetia leant her face upon the table at which she was 
sitting and sobbed aloud. 

' My love was baffled,' Lady Annabel continued. ' I fled, 
for both our sakes, from the world in which my family 
were honoured ; I sacrificed without a sigh, in the very 
prime of my youth, every pursuit which interests woman ; 
but I had my child, I had my child ! ' 

' And you have her still ! ' exclaimed the miserable Vene- 
tia. ' Mother, you have her still ! ' 

' I have schooled my mind,' continued Lady Annabel, 
still pacing the room with agitated steps; 'I have dis- 
ciplined my emotions ; I have felt at my heart the constant 
the undying pang, and yet I have smiled, that you might 
be happy. But I can struggle against my fate no longer. 
No longer can I suffer my unparalleled, yes, my unjust 
doom. What have I done to merit these afflictions ? Now, 
then, let me struggle no more ; let me die ! ' 

Venetia tried to rise ; her limbs refused their office ; she 
tottered ; she fell again into her seat with an hysteric cry. 

' Alas ! alas ! ' exclaimed Lady Annabel, ' to a mother, a 
child is everything ; but to a child, a parent is only a link 
in the chain of her existence. It was weakness, it was folly, 
it was madness to stake everything on a resource which 
must fail me. I feel it now, but I feel it too late.' 

Venetia held forth her arms ; she could not speak ; she 
was stifled with her emotion. 

' But was it wonderful that I was so weak ? ' continued 
her mother, as it were communing only with herself. ' What 
child was like mine ? Oh ! the joy, the bliss, the hours of 
rapture that I have passed, in gazing upon my treasure, and 
dreaming of all her beauty and her rare qualities ! I was 



300 VENETIA. 

so happy ! I was so proud ! Ah, Venetia ! you know not 
how I have loved you ! ' 

Venetia sprang from, her seat ; she rushed forward with 
convulsive energy ; she clung to her mother, threw her 
arms round her neck, and buried her passionate woe in 
Lady Annabel's bosom. 

Lady Annabel stood for some minutes supporting her 
speechless and agitated child ; then, as her sobs became 
fainter, and the tumult of her grief gradually died away, 
she bore her to the sofa, and seated herself by her side, 
holding Venetia' s hand in her own, and ever and anon 
soothing her with soft embraces, and still softer words. 

At length, in a faint voice, Venetia said, ' Mother, what 
can I do to restore the past ? How can we be to each 
other as we were, for this I cannot bear ? ' 

' Love me, my Venetia, as I love you ; be faithful to your 
mother; do not disregard her counsel ; profit by her errors.' 

' I will in all things obey you,' said Venetia, in a low 
voice ; ' there is no sacrifice I am not prepared to make for 
your happiness.' 

' Let us not talk of sacrifices, my darling child ; it is not 
a sacrifice that I require. I wish only to prevent your 
everlasting misery.' 

'What, then, shall I do?' 

' Make me only one promise ; whatever pledge you give, 
I feel assured that no influence, Venetia, will ever induce 
you to forfeit it.' 

' Name it, mother.' 

' Promise me never to marry Lord Cadurcis,' said Lady 
Annabel, in a whisper, but a whisper of which not a word 
was lost by the person to whom it was addressed. 

' I promise never to marry, but with your approbation,' 
said Venetia, in a solemn voice, and uttering the words with 
great distinctness. 

The countenance of Lady Annabel instantly brightened ; 
she embraced her child with extreme fondness, and breathed 
the softest and the sweetest expressions of gratitude and love. 



VENETIA. 301 



CHAPTER XV. 

WHEN Lady Monteagle discovered that of which her good- 
natured friends took care she should not long remain igno- 
rant, that Venetia Herbert had been the companion of Lord 
Cadurcis' childhood, and that the most intimate relations 
had once subsisted between the two families, she became 
the prey of violent jealousy ; and the bitterness of her feel- 
ings was not a little increased, when she felt that she had 
not only been abandoned, but duped ; and that the new 
beauty, out of his fancy for whom she had nattered herself 
she had so triumphantly rallied him, was an old friend, 
whom he always admired. She seized the first occasion, 
after this discovery, of relieving her feelings, by a scene so 
violent, that Cadurcis had never again entered Monteagle 
House ; and then repenting of this mortifying result, which 
she had herself precipitated, she overwhelmed him with 
letters, which, next to scenes, were the very things which 
Lord Cadurcis most heartily abhorred. These, now indig- 
nant, now passionate, now loading him. with reproaches, 
now appealing to his love, and now to his pity, daily 
arrived at his residence, and were greeted at first only with 
short and sarcastic replies, and finally by silence. Then the 
lady solicited a final interview, and Lord Cadurcis having 
made an appointment to quiet her, went out of town the 
day before to Richmond, to a villa belonging to Venetia's 
uncle, and where, among other guests, he was of course to 
meet Lady Annabel and her daughter. 

The party was a most agreeable one, and assumed an 
additional interest with Cadurcis, who had resolved to seize 
this favourable opportunity to bring his aspirations to 
Venetia to a crisis. The day after the last conversation 
with her, which we have noticed, he had indeed boldly 
called upon the Herberts at their hotel for that purpose, but 
without success, as they were again absent from home. He 
had been since almost daily in the society of Venetia ; but 



302 VENETIA. 

London, to a lover who is not smiled upon by the domestic 
circle of his mistress, is a very unfavourable spot for con- 
fidential conversations. A villa life, with its easy, unem- 
barrassed habits, its gardens and lounging walks, to say 
nothing of the increased opportunities resulting from being 
together at all hours, and living under the same roof, was 
more promising ; and here he flattered himself he might 
defy even the Argus eye and ceaseless vigilance of his 
intended mother-in-law, his enemy, whom he could not 
propitiate, and whom he now fairly hated. 

His cousin George, too, was a guest, and his cousin George 
was the confidant of his love. Upon this kind relation de- 
volved the duty, far from a disagreeable one, of ^amusing 
the mother ; and as Lady Annabel, though she relaxed not 
a jot of the grim courtesy which she ever extended to Lord 
Cadurcis, was no longer seriously uneasy as to his influence 
after the promise she had exacted from her daughter, it 
would seem that these circumstances combined to prevent 
Lord Cadurcis from being disappointed at least in the first 
object which he wished to obtain, an opportunity. 

And yet several days elapsed before this offered itself, 
passed by Cadurcis, however, very pleasantly in the pre- 
sence of the being he loved, and very judiciously too, for no 
one could possibly be more amiable and ingratiating than 
our friend. Every one present, except Lady Annabel, 
appeared to entertain for him as much affection as admira- 
tion : those who had only met him in throngs were quite 
surprised how their superficial observation and the delusive 
reports of the world had misled them. As for his hostess, 
whom it had ever been his study to please, he had long won 
her heart ; and, as she could not be blind to his projects 
and pretensions, she heartily wished him success, assisted 
him with all her efforts, and desired nothing more sincerely 
than that her niece should achieve such a conquest, and she 
obtain so distinguished a nephew. 

Notwithstanding her promise to her mother, Venetia felt 
justified in making no alteration in her conduct to one 



VENETIA. 303 

whom she still sincerely loved ; and, under the immediate 
influence of his fascination, it was often, when she was 
alone, that she mourned with a sorrowing heart over the 
opinion which her mother entertained of him. Could it 
indeed be possible that Plantagenet, the same Plantagenet 
she had known so early and so long, to her invariably so 
tender and so devoted, could entail on her, by their union, 
such unspeakable and inevitable misery? Whatever might 
be the view adopted by her mother of her conduct, Venetia 
felt every hour more keenly that it was a sacrifice, and the 
greatest ; and she still indulged in a vague yet delicious 
dream, that Lady Annabel might ultimately withdraw the 
harsh and perhaps heart-breaking interdict she had so 
rigidly decreed. 

' Cadurcis,' said his cousin to him one morning, ' we are 
all going to Hampton Court. Now is your time ; Lady 
Annabel, the Vemons, and myself, will fill one carriage ; I 
have arranged that. Look out, and something may be 
done. Speak to the Countess.' 

Accordingly Lord Cadurcis hastened to make a sugges- 
tion to a friend always flattered by his notice. ' My dear 
friend,' he said in his softest tone, ' let you and Venetia 
and myself manage to be together ; it will be so delightful ; 
we shall quite enjoy ourselves.' 

The Countess did not require this animating compliment 
to effect the object which Cadurcis did not express. She 
had gradually fallen into the unacknowledged conspiracy 
against her sister-in-law, whose prejudice against her friend 
she had long discovered, and had now ceased to combat. 
Two carriages, and one filled as George had arranged, 
accordingly drove gaily away ; and Yenetia, and her aunt, 
and Lord Cadurcis were to follow them on horseback. 
They rode with delight through the splendid avenues of 
Bushey, and Cadurcis was never in a lighter or happier 
mood. 

The month of May was in its decline, and the cloudless 
sky and the balmy air such as suited so agreeable a season. 



304 VENETIA. 



The London season was approaching its close ; for the 
royal birthday was, at the period of our history, generally 
the signal of preparation for country quarters. The car- 
riages arrived long before the riding party, for they had 
walked their steeds, and they found a messenger who re- 
quested them to join their friends in the apartments which 
they were visiting. 

' For my part,' said Cadurcis, ' I love the sun that rarely 
shines in this land. I feel no inclination to lose the golden 
hours in these gloomy rooms. What say you, ladies fair, 
to a stroll in the gardens ? It will be doubly charming 
after our ride.' 

His companions cheerfully assented, and they walked 
away, congratulating themselves on their escape from the 
wearisome amusement of palace-hunting, straining their 
eyes to see pictures hung at a gigantic height, and solemnly 
wandering through formal apartments full of state beds and 
massy cabinets and modern armour. 

Taking their way along the terrace, they struck at length 
into a less formal path. At length the Countess seated her- 
self on a bench. ' I must rest,' she said, ' but you, young 
people, may roam about ; only do not lose me.' 

' Come, Venetia ! ' said Lord Cadurcis. 

Venetia was hesitating ; she did net like to leave her 
aunt alone, but the Countess encouraged her, ' If you will 
not go, you will only make me continue walking,' she said. 
And so Venetia proceeded, and for the first time since her 
visit was alone with Plantagenet. 

' I quite love your aunt,' said Lord Cadurcis. 

' It is difficult indeed not to love her,' said Venetia. 

' Ah, Venetia ! I wish your mother was like your aunt,' 
he continued. It was an observation which was not heard 
without some emotion by his companion, though it was 
imperceptible. 'Venetia,' said Cadurcis, 'when I recol- 
lect old days, how strange it seems that we now never 
should be alone, but by some mere accident, like this, for 
instance.' 



VENETIA. 305 

' It is no use thinking of old days,' said Venetia. 

' No use ! ' said Cadurcis. ' I do not like to hear you 
say that, Venetia. Those are some of the least agreeable 
words that were ever uttered by that mouth. I cling to 
old days ; they are my only joy and my only hope.' 

' They are gone,' said Yenetia. 

' But may they not return ? ' said Cadurcis. 

* Never,' said Venetia, mournfully. 

They had walked on to a marble fountain of gigantic pro- 
portions and elaborate workmanship, an assemblage of divi- 
nities and genii, all spouting water in fantastic attitudes. 

' Old days,' said Plantagenet, ' are like the old fountain 
at Cadurcis, dearer to me than all this modern splendour.' 

' The old fountain at Cadurcis,' said Venetia, musingly, 
and gazing on the water with an abstracted air, ' I loved it 
well!' 

' Venetia,' said her companion, in a tone of extreme 
tenderness, yet not untouched with melancholy, ' dear 
Venetia, let us return, and return together, to that old 
fountain and those old days ! ' 

Venetia shook her head. ' Ah, Plantageuet ! ' she ex- 
claimed in a mournful voice, ' we must not speak of these 
things.' 

' Why not, Venetia ? ' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis, eagerly. 
' Why should we be estranged from each other ? I love 
you ; I love only you ; never have I loved another. And 
you, have you forgotten all our youthful affection? You 
cannot, Venetia. Our childhood can never be a blank.' 

' I told you, when first we met, my heart was unchanged,' 
said Venetia. 

' Remember the vows I made to you when last at Cher- 
bury,' said Cadurcis. ' Years have flown on, Venetia ; but 
they find me urging the same. At any rate, now I know 
myself; at any rate, I am not now an obscure boy ; yet 
what is manhood, and what is fame, without the charm of 
my infancy and my youth ! Yes, Venetia ! you must, you 
will be mine ? ' 



306 VENETIA. 

' Plantagenet,' she replied, in a solemn tone, ' yours I 
never can be.' 

* You do not, then, love me ? ' said Cadurcis reproach- 
fully, and in a voice of great feeling. 

' It is impossible for you to be" loved more than I love 
you,' said Venetia. 

' My own Venetia ! ' said Cadurcis ; ' Venetia that I dote 
on ! what does this mean ? Why, then, will you not be 
mine ? ' 

' I cannot ; there is an obstacle, an insuperable obstacle.' 

' Tell it me,' said Cadurcis eagerly ; ' I will overcome it.' 

4 1 have promised never to marry without the approbation 
of my mother ; her approbation you never can obtain.' 

Cadurcis 1 countenance fell; this was an obstacle which 
he felt that even he could not overcome. 

' I told you your mother hated me, Venetia.' And then, 
as she did not reply, he continued, ' You confess it, I see 
you confess it. Once you flattered me I was mistaken ; but 
now, now you confess it.' 

' Hatred is a word which I cannot understand,' replied 
Venetia. ' My mother has reasons for disapproving my 
union with you ; not founded on the circumstances of your 
life, and therefore removable (for I know what the world 
says, Plantagenet, of you), but I have confidence in your 
love, and that is nothing ; but founded on your character, 
on your nature ; they may be unjust, but they are insuper- 
able, and I must yield to them.' 

' You have another parent, Venetia,' said Cadurcis, in a 
tone of almost irresistible softness, ' the best and greatest 
of men ! Once you told me that his sanction was necessary 
to your marriage. I will obtain it. O Venetia ! be mine, 
and we will join him ; join that ill-fated and illustrious 
being who loves you with a passion second only to mine ; 
him who has addressed you in language which rests on 
every lip, and has thrilled many a heart that you even can 
never know. My adored Venetia ! picture to yourself, for 
one moment, a life with him ; resting on my bosom, conse- 



VENETIA. 307 

crated by his paternal love ! Let us quit this mean and 
miserable existence, which we now pursue, which never 
could have suited us ; let us shun for ever this dull and 
degrading life, that is not life, if life be what I deem it ; let 
us fly to those beautiful solitudes where he communes with 
an inspiring nature ; let us, let us be happy ! ' 

He uttered these last words in a tone of melting tender- 
ness ; he leant forward his head, and his gaze caught hers, 
which was fixed upon the water. Her hand was pressed 
suddenly in his ; his eye glittered, his lip seemed still 
speaking ; he awaited his doom. 

The countenance of Venetia was quite pale, but it was 
disturbed. You might see, as it were, the shadowy pro- 
gress of thought, and mark the tumultuous passage of con- 
flicting passions. Her mind, for a moment, was indeed a 
chaos. There was a terrible conflict between love and duty. 
At length a tear, one solitary tear, burst from her burning 
eye-ball, and stole slowly down her cheek ; it relieved her 
pain. She pressed Cadurcis' hand, and speaking in a 
hollow voice, and with a look vague and painful, she 
said, ' I am a victim, but I am resolved. I never will 
desert her who devoted herself to me.' 

Cadurcis quitted her hand rather abruptly, and began 
walking up and down on the turf that surrounded the 
fountain. 

' Devoted herself to you ! ' he exclaimed with a fiendish 
laugh, and speaking, as Avas his custom, between his teeth. 
* Commend me to such devotion. Not content with de- 
priving you of a father, now forsooth she must bereave you 
of a lover too ! And this is a mother, a devoted mother ! 
The cold-blooded, sullen, selfish, inexorable tyrant ! ' 

' Plantagenet ! ' exclaimed Venetia with great animation. 

' Nay, I will speak. Victim, indeed ! You have ever 
been her slave. She a devoted mother ! Ay ! as devoted 
as a mother as she was dutiful as a wife ! She has no 
heart ; she never had a feeling. And she cajoles you with 
her love, her devotion, the stern hypocrite ! ' 

x 2 



308 VENETIA. 

' I must leave you,' said Venetia ; ' I cannot bear this.' 

' Oh ! the truth, the truth is precious,' said Cadurcis, 
taking her hand, and preventing her from moving. ' Your 
mother, your devoted mother, has driven one man of genius 
from her bosom, and his country. Yet there is another. 
Deny me what I ask, and to-morrow's sun shall light me to 
another land ; to this I will never return ; I will blend my 
tears with your father's, and I will publish to Europe the 
double infamy of your mother. I swear it solemnly. Still 
I stand here, Venetia ; prepared, if you will but smile upon 
me, to be her son, her dutiful son. Nay ! her slave like 
you. She shall not murmur. I will be dutiful ; she shall 
be devoted ; we will all be happy,' he added in a softer 
tone. ' Now, now, Venetia, my happiness is on the stake, 
now, now.' 

' I have spoken,' said Venetia. ' My heart may break, 
but my purpose shall not falter.' 

' Then my curse upon your mother's head ? ' said Cadurcis, 
with terrible vehemency. ' May heaven rain all its plagues 
upon her, the Hecate ! ' 

* I will listen no more,' exclaimed Venetia indignantly, 
and she moved away. She had proceeded some little dis- 
tance when she paused and looked back ; Cadurcis was 
still at the fountain, but he did not observe her. She re- 
membered his sudden departure from Cherbury; she did 
not doubt that, in the present instance, he would leave 
them as abruptly, and that he would keep his word so 
solemnly given. Her heart was nearly breaking, but she 
could not bear the idea of parting in bitterness with the 
being whom, perhaps, she loved best in the world. She 
stopt, she called his name in a voice low indeed, but in that 
silent spot it reached him. He joined her immediately, 
but with a slow step. When he had reached her, he said, 
without any animation and in a frigid tone, ' I believe you 
called me ? ' 

Venetia burst into tears. ' I cannot bear to part in anger, 
Plantagenct. I wished to say farewell in kindness. I shall 



VENETIA. 309 

always pray for your happiness. God bless you, Planta- 
genet ! ' 

Lord Cadurcis made no reply, though for a moment he 
seemed about to speak ; he bowed, and, as Venetia approached 
her aunt, he turned his steps in a different direction. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

VENETIA stopped for a moment to collect herself before she 
joined her aunt, but it was impossible to conceal her agita- 
tion from the Countess. They had not, however, been long 
together before they observed their friends in the distance, 
who had now quitted the palace. Venetia made the utmost 
efforts to compose herself, and not unsuccessful ones. She 
was sufficiently calm on their arrival, to listen, if not to 
converse. The Countess, with all the tact of a woman, 
covered her niece's confusion by her animated description, 
of their agreeable ride, and their still more pleasant pro- 
menade ; and in a few minutes the whole party were walk- 
ing back to their carriages. When they had arrived at the 
inn, they found Lord Cadurcis, to whose temporary absence 
the Countess had alluded with some casual observation 
which she flattered herself was very satisfactory. Cadurcis 
appeared rather sullen, and the Countess, with feminme 
quickness, suddenly discovered that both herself and her 
niece were extremely fatigued, and that they had better 
return in the carriages. There was one vacant place, and 
some of the gentlemen must ride outside. Lord Cadurcis, 
however, said that he should return as he came, and the 
grooms might lead back the ladies' horses ; and so in a few 
minutes the carriages had driven off. 

Our solitary equestrian, however, was no sooner mounted 
than he put his horse to its speed, and never drew in his 
rein until he reached Hyde Park Corner. The rapid motion 
accorded with his tumultuous mood. He was soon at home, 
gave his horse to a servant, for he had left his groom behind, 



310 VENETIA. 

rushed into his library, tore up a letter of Lady Monteagle's 
with a demoniac glance, and rang his bell with such force 
that it broke. His valet, not unused to such ebullitions, 
immediately appeared. 

'Has anything happened, Spalding ? ' said his lordship. 

' Nothing particular, my lord. Her ladyship sent every 
day, and called herself twice, but I told her your lordship 
was in Yorkshire.' 

' That was right ; I saw a letter from her. When did it 
come ? ' 

' It has been here several days, my lord.' 

' Mind, I am at home to nobody ; I am not in town.' 

The valet bowed and disappeared. Cadurcis threw him- 
self into an easy chair, stretched his legs, sighed, and then 
swore ; then suddenly starting up, he seized a mass of 
letters that were lying on the table, and hurled them to the 
other end of the apartment, dashed several books to the 
ground, kicked down several chairs that were in his way, 
and began pacing the room with his usual troubled step ; 
and so he continued until the shades of twilight entered his 
apartment. Then he pulled down the other bell-rope, and 
Mr. Spalding again appeared. 

' Order posthorses for to-morrow,' said his lordship. 

' Where to, mylord ? ' 

' I don't know ; order the horses.' 

Mr. Spalding again bowed and disappeared. 

In a few minutes he heard a great stamping and confusion 
in his master's apartment, and presently the door opened 
and his master's voice was heard calling him repeatedly in 
a very irritable tone.' 

' Why are there no bells in this cursed room ? ' inquired 
Lord Cadurcis. 

' The ropes are broken, my lord.' 

' Why are they broken ? ' 

' I can't say, my lord.' 

* I cannot leave this house for a day but I find everything 
in confusion. Bring me some Burgundy.' 



VENETIA. 311 

' Yes, my lord. There is a young lad, my lord, called a 
few minutes back, and asked for your lordship. He says he 
has something very particular to say to your lordship. I 
told him your lordship was out of town. He said your lord- 
ship would wish very much to see him, and that he had 
come from the Abbey.' 

' The Abbey ! ' said Cadurcis, in a tone of curiosity. ' Why 
did you not show him in. ? ' 

' Tour lordship said you were not at home to anybody.' 

' Idiot ! Is this anybody ? Of course I would have seen 
him. What the devil do I keep you for, sir ? You seem to 
me to have lost your head.' 

Mr. Spalding retired. 

' The Abbey ! that is droll,' said Cadurcis. ' I owe some 
duties to the poor Abbey. I should not like to quit England, 
and leave anybody in trouble at the Abbey. I wish I had 
seen the lad. Some son of a tenant who has written to 
me, and I have never opened his letters. I am sorry.' 

In a few minutes Mr. Spalding again entered the room. 
' The young lad has called again, my lord. He says he 
thinks your lordship has come to town, and he wishes to see 
your lordship very much.' 

' Bring lights and show him up. Show him up first.' 

Accordingly, a country lad was ushered into the room, 
although it was so dusky that Cadurcis could only observe 
his figure standing at the door. 

' Well, my good fellow,' said Cadurcis ; ' what do you 
want ? Are you in any trouble ? ' 

The boy hesitated. 

' Speak out, my good fellow ; do not be alarmed. If I 
can serve you, or any one at the Abbey, I will do it.' 

Here Mr. Spalding entered with the lights. The lad 
held a cotton handkerchief to his face ; he appeared to be 
weeping ; all that was seen of his head were his locks of 
red hair. He seemed a country lad, dressed in a long 
green coat with silver buttons, and he twirled in his dis- 
engaged hand a peasant's white hat. 



312 VEXETIA. 

'That will do, Spalding,' said Lord Cadurcis. 'Leave 
the room. "Now, my good fellow, my time is precious ; but 
speak out, and do not be afraid.' 

' Cadurcis ! ' said the lad in a sweet and trembling voice. 
' Gertrude, by G d ! ' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis, start- 
ing. ' What infernal masquerade is this ? ' 

' Is it a greater disguise than I have to bear every hour 
of my life ? ' exclaimed Lady Moiiteagle, advancing. ' Have 
I not to bear a smiling face with a breaking heart ? ' 

' By Jove ! a scene,' exclaimed Cadurcis in a piteous 
tone. 

' A scene ! ' exclaimed Lady Monteagle, bursting into a 
flood of indignant tears. ' Is this the way the expres- 
sion of my feelings is ever to be stigmatised ? Barbarous 
man ! ' 

Cadurcis stood with his back to the fireplace, with his 
lips compressed, and his hands under his coat-tails. He 
was resolved that nothing should induce him to utter a 
word. He looked the picture of dogged indifference. 

' I know where you have been,' continued Lady Mont- 
eagle. ' You have been to Richmond ; you have been with 
Miss Herbert. Yes ! I know all. I am a victim, but I 
will not be a dupe. Yorkshire indeed ! Paltry coward ! ' 
Cadurcis hummed an air. 

' And this is Lord Cadurcis ! ' continued the lady. ' The 
sublime, ethereal Lord Cadurcis, condescending to the last 
refuge of the meanest, most commonplace mind, a vulgar, 
wretched lie ! What could have been expected from such 
a mind ? You may delude the world, but I know you. 
Yes, sir! I know you. And I will let everybody know 
you. I will tear away the veil of charlatanism with which 
you have enveloped yourself. The world shall at length 
discover the nature of the idol they have worshipped. All 
your meanness, all your falsehood, all your selfishness, all 
your baseness, shall be revealed. I may be spurned, but 
at any rate I will be revenged ! ' 
Lord Cadurcis yawned. 



VENETIA. 313 

* Insulting, pitiful wretch ! ' continued the lady. ' And 
you think that I wish to hear you speak ! You think the 
sound of that deceitful voice has any charm for me ! You 
are mistaken, sir ! I have listened to you too long. It 
was not to remonstrate with you that I resolved to see you. 
The tones of your voice can only excite my disgust. I am 
hei'e to speak myself; to express to you the contempt, the 
detestation, the aversion, the scorn, the hatred, which "I 
entertain for you ! ' 

Lord Cadurcis whistled. 

The lady paused ; she had effected the professed purport 
of her visit ; she ought now to have retired, and Cadurcis 
would most willingly have opened the door for her, and 
bowed her out of his apartment. But her conduct did not 
exactly accord with her speech. She intimated no inten- 
tion of moving. Her courteous friend retained his position, 
and adhered to his policy of silence. There was a dead 
pause, and then Lady Monteagle, throwing herself into a 
chair, went into hysterics. 

Lord Cadurcis, following her example, also seated him- 
self, took up a book, and began to read. 

The hysterics became fainter and fainter ; they expe- 
rienced all those gradations of convulsive noise with which 
Lord Cadurcis was so well acquainted ; at length they sub- 
sided into sobs and sighs. Finally, there was again silence, 
now only disturbed by the sound of a page turned by Lord 
Cadurcis. 

Suddenly the lady sprang from her seat, and firmly 
grasping the arm of Cadurcis, threw herself on her knees 
at his side. 

'Cadurcis!' she exclaimed, in a tender tone, 'do you, 
love me ? ' 

'My dear Gertrude,' said Lord Cadurcis, coolly, but 
rather regretting he had quitted his original and less assail- 
able posture, ' you know I like quiet women.' 

' Cadurcis, forgive me ! ' murmured the lady. ' Pity rae ! 
Think only how miserable I am ! ' 



314 VENETIA. 

'Your misery is of your own making 1 ,' said Lord Ca- 
durcis. ' What occasion is there for any of these extra- 
ordinary proceedings ? I have told you a thousand times 
that I cannot endure scenes. Female society is a relaxa- 
tion to me ; you convert it into torture. I like to sail upon 
a summer sea ; and you always will insist upon a white 
squall.' 

' But you have deserted me ! ' 

* I never desert any one,' replied Cadurcis calmly, raising 
her from her supplicating attitude, and leading Ler to a 
seat. ' The last time we met, you banished me your pre- 
sence, and told me never to speak to you again. Well, I 
obeyed your orders, as I always do.' 

' But I did not mean what I said,' said Lady Monteagle. 
' How should I know that ? ' said Lord Cadnrcis. 

* Your heart ought to have assured you,' said the lady. 

' The tongue is a less deceptive organ than the heart,' 
replied her companion. 

' Cadurcis,' said the lady, looking at her strange dis- 
guise, ' what do you advise me to do ? ' 

' To go home ; and if you like I will order my vis-a-vis 
for you directly,' and he rose from his seat to give the order. 

' Ah ! ' you are sighing to get rid of me ! ' said the lady, 
in a reproachful, but still subdued tone. 

' Why, the fact is, Gertrude, I prefer calling upon you, to 
your calling upon me. When I am fitted for your society, 
I seek it ; and, when you are good-tempered, always with 
pleasure ; when I am not in the mood for it, I stay away. 
And when I am at home, I wish to see no one. I have 
business now, and not very agreeable business. I am dis- 
turbed by many causes, and you could not have taken a 
step which could have given me greater annoyance than 
the strange one you have adopted this evening.' 

* I am sorry for it now,' said the lady, weeping. ' When 
shall I see you again ? ' 

' I will call upon you to-morrow, and pray receive me 
with smiles.' 



VENETIA. 315 

' I ever will,' said tlie lady, weeping plenteously. ' It is 
all my fault ; you are ever too good. There is not in the 
world a kinder and more gentle being than yourself. I 
shall never forgive myself for this exposure. 

' Would you like to take anything ? ' said Lord Cadurcis : 
' I am sure you must feel exhausted. Yoti see I am drink- 
ing wine ; it is my only dinner to-day, but I dare say there 
is some salvolatile in the house; I dare say, when my 
maids go into hysterics, they have it ! ' 

' Ah, mocker! ' said Lady Monteagle; 'but I can pardon 
everything, if you will only let me see you.' 

' Au revoir ! then,' said his lordship ; ' I am sure the 
carriage must be ready. I hear it. Come, Mr. Gertrude, 
settle you wig ; it is quite awry. By Jove ! we might as 
well go to the Pantheon, as you are ready dressed. I have 
a domino.' And so saying, Lord Cadurcis handed the lady 
to his carriage, and pressed her lightly by the hand, as he 
reiterated his promise of calling at Monteagle House the 
next day. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

LORD CADURCIS, unhappy at home, and wearied of the com- 
monplace resources of society, had passed the night in every 
species of dissipation ; his principal companion being that 
same young nobleman in whose company he had been when 
he first met Venetia at Ranelagh. The morn was breaking 
when Cadurcis and his friend arrived at his door. They 
had settled to welcome the dawn with a beaker of burnt 
Burgundy. 

' Now, my dear Scrope,' said Cadurcis,' ' now for quiet 
and philosophy. The laughter of those infernal women, the 
rattle of those cursed dice, and the oaths of those ruffians, 
are still ringing in my ears. Let us compose ourselves, 
and moralise.' 

Accustomed to their master's habits, who generally turned 



316 VENETIA. 

night into day, the household were all on the alert ; a 
blazing fire greeted them, and his lordship ordered instantly 
a devil and the burnt Burgundy. 

' Sit you down here, my Scrope ; that is the seat of 
honour, and you shall have it. What is this, a letter ? 
and marked " Urgent," and in a man's hand. It must 
be read. Some good fellow nabbed by a bailiff, or planted 
by his mistress. Signals of distress ! We must assist our 
friends.' 

The flame of the fire fell upon Lord Cadurcis' face as he 
read the letter ; he was still standing, while his friend was 
stretched out in his easy chair, and inwardly congratulating 
himself on his comfortable prospects. The countenance of 
Cadurcis did not change, but he bit his lip, and read the 
letter twice, and turned it over, but with a careless air ; 
and then he asked what o'clock it was. The servant in- 
formed him, and left the room. 

' Scrope,' said Lord Cadurcis, quietly, and still standing, 
' are you very drunk ? ' 

' My dear fellow, I am as fresh as possible ; you will see 
what justice I shall do to the Burgundy.' 

' " Burgundy to-morrow," as the Greek proverb saith,' 
observed Lord Cadurcis. ' Read that.' 

His companion had the pleasure of perusing a challenge 
from Lord Monteagle, couched in no gentle terms, and re- 
questing an immediate meeting. 

' Well, I never heard anything more ridiculous in my 
life,' said Lord Scrope. ' Does he want satisfaction because 
you have planted her ? ' 

' D n her ! ' said Lord Cadurcis. ' She has occasioned 
me a thousand annoyances, and now she has spoilt our 
supper. I don't know, though ; he wants to fight quickly, 
let us fight at once. I will send him a cartel now, and 
then we can have our Burgundy. You will go out with 
me, of course ? Hyde Park, six o'clock, and short swords.' 

Lord Cadurcis accordingly sat down, wrote his letter, 
and dispatched it by Mr. Spalding to Monteagle House, 



VENETIA. 317 

with peremptory instructions to bring back an answer. 
The companions then turned to their devil. 

' This is a bore, Cadurcis,' said Lord Scrope. 

' It is. I cannot say I am very valorous in a bad cause. 
I do not like to fight "upon compulsion," I confess. If I 
had time to screw my courage up, I dare say I should do it 
very well. I dare say, for instance, if ever I am publicly 
executed, I shall die game.' 

' God forbid ! ' said Lord Scrope. ' I say, Cadurcis, I 
would not drink any Burgundy if I were you. I shall take 
a glass of cold water.' 

'Ah! you are only a second, and so you want to cool 
your valour,' said Cadurcis. ' You have all the fun.' 

'But how came this blow-up?' inquired Lord Scrope. 
' Letters discovered, eh ? Because I thought you never 
saw her now ? ' 

' By Jove ! my dear fellow, she has been the whole even- 
ing here masquerading it like a very vixen, as she is ; and 
now she has committed us both. I have burnt her letters, 
without reading them, for the last month. Now I call that 
honourable ; because, as I had no longer any claim on her 
heart, I would not think of trenching on her correspondence. 
But honour, what is honour in these dishonourable days ? 
This is my reward. She conti-ived to enter my house this 
evening, dressed like a farmer's boy, and you may imagine 
what ensued ; rage, hysterics, and repentance. I am. sure 
if Monteagle had seen me, he would not have been jealous. 
I never opened my mouth, but, like a fool, sent her home 
in my carriage ; and now I am going to be run through the 
body for my politeness.' 

In this light strain, blended, however, with more decorous 
feeling on the part of Lord Scrope, the young men con- 
versed until the messenger's return with Lord Monteagle's 
answer. In Hyde Park, in the course of an hour, himself 
and Lord Cadurcis, attended by their friends, were to 
meet. 

' "Well, there is nothing like having these affairs over,' 



318 VENETIA. 

said Cadnrcis ; * and to confess the truth, my dear Scrope, 
I should not much care if Monteagle were to despatch me 
to my fathers ; for, in the whole course of my miserable 
life, and miserable, whatever the world may think, it has 
been, I never felt much more wretched than I have during 
the last four-and-twenty hours. By Jove ! do you know I 
was going to leave England this morning, and I have ordered 
my horses, too.' 

' Leave England ! ' 

' Yes, leave England ; and where I never intended to 
return,' 

' Well, you are the oddest person I ever knew, Cadurcis. 
I should have thought you the happiest person that ever 
existed. Everybody admires, everybody envies you. You 
seem to have everything that man can desire. Your life is a 
perpetual triumph.' 

' Ah ! my dear Scrope, there is a skeleton in every house. 
If you knew all, you would not envy me.' 

' Well, we have not much time,' said Lord Scrope; ' have 
you any arrangements to make ? ' 

* None. My property goes to George, who is my only 
relative, without the necessity of a will, otherwise I should 
leave everything to him, for he is a good fellow, and my 
blood is in his veins. Just you remember, Scrope, that I 
will be buried with my mother. That is all ; and now let 
us get ready.' 

The sun had just risen when the young men went forth, 
and the day promised to be as brilliant as the preceding 
one. Not a soul was stirring in the courtly quarter in 
which Cadurcis resided ; even the last watchman had stolen 
to repose. They called a hackney coach at the first stand 
they reached, and were soon at the destined spot. They 
were indeed before their time, and strolling by the side of 
the Serpentime, Cadurcis said, ' Yesterday morning was 
one of the happiest of my life, Scrope, and I was in hopes 
that an event would have occurred in the course of the day 
that might have been my salvation. If it had, by-the-bye, 



VENETIA. 319 

I should not have returned to town, and got into this cursed 
scrape. However, the gods were against me, and now I 
am reckless.' 

Now Lord Monteagle and his friend, who was Mr. Horace 
Pole, appeared. Cadurcis advanced, and bowed ; Lord 
Monteagle returned his bow, stiffly, but did not speak. 
The seconds chose their ground, the champions disembar- 
rassed themselves of their coats, and their swords crossed. 
It was a brief affair. After a few passes, Cadurcis received 
a slight wound in his arm, while his weapon pierced his 
antagonist in the breast. Lord Monteagle dropped his sword 
and fell. 

'You had better fly, Lord Cadurcis,' said Mr. Horace 
Pole. ' This is a bad business, I fear ; we have a surgeon 
at hand, and he can help us to the coach that is waiting 
close by.' 

' I thank you, sir, I never fly,' said Lord Cadurcis ; ' and 
I shall wait here until I see your principal safely deposited 
in his carriage ; he will have no objection to my friend, 
Lord Scrope, assisting him, who, by his presence to-day, 
has only fulfilled one of the painful duties that society im- 
poses upon us.' 

The surgeon gave an unfavourable report of the wound, 
which he dressed on the field. Lord Monteagle was then 
borne to his carriage, which was at hand, and Lord Scrope, 
the moment he had seen the equipage move slowly off, 
returned to his friend. 

' Well Cadurcis,' he exclaimed in an anxious voice, ' I 
hope you have not killed him. What will you do now ? ' 

' I shall go home, and await the result, my dear Scrope. 
I am sorry for you, for this may get you into trouble. For 
myself, I care nothing.' 

' You bleed ! ' said Lord Scrope. 

* A scratch. I almost wish our lots had been the reverse. 
Come, Scrope, help me on with my coat. Yesterday I lost 
my heart, last night I lost my money, and perhaps to- 
morrow I shall lose my arm. It seems we are not in luck. 



320 VENETIA. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

IT has been Avell observed, that no spectacle is so ridiculous 
as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality. 
In general, elopements, divorces, and family quarrels pass 
with little notice. We read the scandal, talk about it for 
a day, and forget it. But, once in six or seven years, our 
virtue becomes outrageous. We cannot suffer the laws of 
religion and decency to be violated. We must make a 
stand against vice. We must teach libertines that the 
English people appreciate the importance of domestic ties. 
Accordingly, some unfortunate man, in no respect more 
depraved than hundreds whose offences have been treated 
with lenity, is singled out as an expiatory sacrifice. If he 
has children, they are to be taken from him. If he has a 
profession, he is to be driven from it. He is cut by the 
higher orders, and hissed by the lower. He is, in truth, a 
sort of whipping boy, by whose vicarious agonies all the 
other transgressors of the same class are, it is supposed, 
sufficiently chastised. We reflect very complacently on our 
own severity, and compare, with great pride, the high 
standard of morals established in England, with the Pa- 
risian laxity. At length, our anger is satiated, our victim 
is ruined and heart-broken, and our virtue goes quietly to 
sleep for seven years more. 

These observations of a celebrated writer apply to the 
instance of Lord Cadurcis ; he was the periodical victim, 
the scapegoat of English morality, sent into the wilderness 
with all the crimes and curses of the multitude on his head. 
Lord Cadurcis had certainly committed a great crime : not 
his intrigue with Lady Monteagle, for that surely was not 
an unprecedented offence ; not his duel with her husband, 
for after all it was a duel in self-defence ; and, at all events, 
divorces and duels, under any circumstances, would scarcely 
have excited or authorised the storm which was now about 



VENETIA. 

to burst over the late spoiled child of society. But Lord 
Cadurcis had been guilty of the offence which, of all offences, 
is punished most severely : Lord Cadurcis had been over- 
praised. He had excited too warm an interest; and the 
public, with its usual justice, was resolved to chastise him 
for its own folly. 

There are no fits of caprice so hasty and so violent as 
those of society. Society, indeed, is all passion and no 
heart. Cadurcis, in allusion to his sudden and singular 
success, had been in the habit of saying to his intimates, 
that he ' woke one morning and found himself famous.' 
He might now observe, ' I woke one morning and found 
myself infamous.' Before twenty-four hours had passed 
over his duel with Lord Monteagle, he found himself branded 
l)y every journal in London, as an unprincipled and un- 
paralleled reprobate. The public, without waiting to think 
or even to inquire after the truth, instantly selected as 
genuine the most false and the most flagrant of the fifty 
libellous narratives that were circulated of the transaction. 
Stories, inconsistent with themselves, were all alike eagerly 
believed, and what evidence there might be for any one of 
them, the virtuous people, by whom they were repeated, 
neither cared nor knew. The pubh'c, in short, fell into 
a passion with their darling, and, ashamed of their past 
idolatry, nothing would satisfy them but knocking the 
divinity on the head. 

Until Lord Monteagle, to the great regret of society, who 
really wished him to die in order that his antagonist might 
commit murder, was declared out of danger, Lord Cadurcis 
never quitted his house, and he was not a little surprised 
that scarcely a human bein:.,* called upon him except his 
cousin, who immediately flew to his succour. George, 
indeed, would gladly have spared Cadurcis any knowledge 
of the storm that was raging against him, and which he 
flattered himself would blow over before Cadurcis was again 
abroad ; but he was so much with his cousin, and Cadurcis 
was so extremely acute and naturally so suspicious, that 

T 



322 VENETIA. 

this was impossible. Moreover, his absolute desertion by 
his Mends, and the invectives and the lampoons with which 
the newspapers abounded, and of which he was the subject, 
rendered any concealment out of the question, and poor 
George passed his life in running about contradicting false- 
hoods, stating truth,, fighting his cousin's battles, and then 
reporting to him, in the course of the day, the state of the 
campaign. 

Cadurcis, being a man of infinite sensibility, suffered 
tortures. He had been so habituated to panegyric, that 
the slightest criticism ruffled him, and now his works had 
suddenly become the subject of universal and outrageous 
attack ; having lived only in a cloud of incense, he suddenly 
found himself in a pillory of moral indignation ; his writings, 
his habits, his temper, his person, were all alike ridiculed 
and vilified. In a word, Cadurcis, the petted, idolised, 
spoiled Cadurcis, was enduring that charming vicissitude 
in a prosperous existence, styled a reaction ; and a con- 
queror, who deemed himself invincible, suddenly vanquished, 
could scarcely be more thunderstruck, or feel more impo- 
tently desperate. 

The tortures of his mind, however, which this sadden 
change in his position and in. the opinions of society, were 
of themselves competent to occasion to one of so impetuous 
and irritable a temperament, and who ever magnified both 
misery and delight with all the creative power of a brooding 
imagination, were excited in his case even to the liveliest 
agony, when he reminded himself of the situation in which 
he was now placed with Venetia. All hope of ever obtain- 
ing her hand had now certainly vanished, and he doubted 
whether even her love could survive the quick occurrence, 
after his ardent vows, of this degrading and mortifying 
catastrophe. He execrated Lady Monteagle with the most 
heart-felt rage, and when he remembered that all this time 
the world believed him the devoted admirer of this vixen, 
his brain was stimulated almost to the verge of insanity. 
His only hope of the truth reaching Venetia was through 



VENETIA. 323 

the medium of his cousin, and he impressed daily upon 
Captain Cadurcis the infinite consolation it would prove 
to him, if he could contrive to make her aware of the real 
facts of the case. According to the public voice, Lady 
Monteagle at his solicitation had fled to his bouse, and re- 
mained there, and her husband forced his entrance into the 
mansion in the middle of the night, while his wife escaped 
disguised in Lord Cadurcis' clothes. She did not, however, 
reach Monteagle House in time enough to escape detection 
by her lord, who had instantly sought and obtained satis- 
faction from his treacherous friend. All the monstrous 
inventions of the first week had now subsided into this cir- 
cumstantial and undoubted narrative ; at least this was the 
version believed by those who had been Cadurcis' friends. 
They circulated the authentic tale with the most considerate 
assiduity, and shook their heads, and said it was too bad, 
and that he must not be countenanced. 

The moment Lord Monteagle was declared out of danger, 
Lord Cadurcis made his appearance in public. He walked 
into Brookes', and everybody seemed suddenly so deeply 
interested in the newspapers, that you might have sup- 
posed they had brought intelligence of a great battle, or a 
revolution, or a change of ministry at the least. One or 
two men spoke to him, who had never presumed to address 
him at any other time, and he received a faint bow from a 
distinguished nobleman, who had ever professed for him the 
greatest consideration and esteem. 

Cadurcis mounted his horse and rode down to the House 
of Lords. There was a debate of some public interest, and 
a considerable crowd was collected round the Peers' en- 
trance. The moment Lord Cadurcis was recognised, tht 
multitude began hooting. He was agitated, and grinned a 
ghastly smile at the rabble. But he dismounted, without 
further annoyance, and took his seat. Not a single peer of 
his own party spoke to him. The leader of the Opposition, 
indeed, bowed to him, and, in the course of the evening, he 
received, from one or two more of his party, some formal 

Y 2 



324 VENETIA. 

evidences of frigid courtesy. The tone of bis reception by 
his friends could not be concealed from the ministerial 
party. It was soon detected, and generally whispered, 
that Lord Cadurcis was cut. Nevertheless, he sat out the 
debate and voted. The house broke up. He felt lonely ; 

his old friend, the Bishop of , who had observed all 

that had occurred, and who might easily have avoided him, 
came forward, however, in the most marked manner, and, 
in a tone which everybody heard, said, ' How do you do, 
Lord Cadurcis ? I am very glad to see you,' shaking his 
hand most cordially. This made a great impression. 
Several of the Tory Lords, among them Venetia's uncle, 
now advanced and saluted him. He received their ad- 
vances with a haughty, but not disdainful, courtesy ; but 
when his Whig friends, confused, now hurried to encumber 
him with their assistance, he treated them with the scorn 
which they well deserved. 

' Will you take a seat in my carriage home, Lord Ca- 
durcis ? ' said his leader, for it was notorious that Cadurcis 
had been mobbed on his arrival. 

' Thank you, my lord,' said Cadurcis, speaking very 
audibly, ' I prefer returning as I came. We are really 
both of us such unpopular personages, that your kindness 
would scarcely be prudent.' 

The house had been full ; there was a great scuffle and 
confusion as the peers were departing ; the mob, now 
considerable, were prepared for the appearance of Lord 
Cadurcis, and their demeanour was menacing. Some 
shouted out his name ; then it was repeated with odious 
and vindictive epithets, followed by ferocious yells. A 
great many peers collected round Cadurcis, and entreated 
him not to return on horseback. It must be confessed that 
genuine and considerable feeling was now shown by all men 
of all parties. And indeed to witness this young, and noble, 
and gifted creature, but a few days back the idol of the 
nation, and from whom a word, a glance even, was deemed 
the greatest and most gratifying distinction, whom all 



7ENETIA. 325 

orders, classes, and conditions of men had combined to 
stimulate with multiplied adulation, with all the glory and 
ravishing delights of the world, as it were, forced upon 
him, to see him thus assailed with the sayage execrations 
of all those vile things who exult in the fall of everything 
that is great, and the abasement of everything that is 
noble, was indeed a spectacle which might have silenced 
malice and satisfied envy ! 

' My carriage is most heartily at your service, Lord 
Cadurcis,' said the noble leader of the government in 
the upper house ; ' you can enter it without the slightest 
suspicion by these ruffians.' ' Lord Cadurcis ; my dear 
lord ; my good lord, for our sakes, if not for your own ; 
Cadurcis, dear Cadurcis, my good Cadurcis, it is madness, 
folly, insanity ; a mob will do anything, and an English 
mob is viler than all ; for Heaven's sake ! ' Such were a 
few of the varied exclamations which resounded on all 
sides, but which produced on the person to whom they 
were addressed only the result of his desiring the attendant 
to call for his horses. 

The lobby was yet full ; it was a fine thing in the light 
of the archway to see Cadurcis spring into his saddle. 
Instantly there was a horrible yell. Yet in spite of all 
their menaces, the mob were for a time awed by his 
courage; they made way for him; he might even have- 
rode quickly on for some few yards, but he would not ; he 
reined his fiery steed into a slow but stately pace, and, with 
a countenance scornful and composed, he continued his 
progress, apparently unconscious of impediment. Mean- 
while, the hooting continued without abatement, increasing 
indeed, after the first comparative pause, in violence and 
menace. At length a bolder ruffian, excited by the up- 
roar, rushed forward and seized Cadurcis' bridle. Cadurcis 
struck the man over the eyes with his whip, and at the 
same time touched his horse with his spur, and the as- 
sailant was dashed to the ground. This seemed a signal 
for a general assault. It commenced with hideous yells.. 



326 VENETIA. 

Hi a friends at the house, who had watched everything with 
the keenest interest, immediately directed all the constables 
who were at hand to rush to his succour ; hitherto they had 
restrained the police, lest their interference might stimulate 
rather than repress the mob. The charge of the constables 
was well timed ; they laid about them with their staves ; 
you might have heard the echo of many a broken crown. 
Nevertheless, though they dispersed the mass, they could 
not penetrate the immediate barrier that surrounded Lord 
Cadurcis, whose only defence indeed, for they had cut off 
his groom, was the terrors of his horse's heels, and whose 
managed motions he regulated with admirable skill, now 
rearing, now prancing, now kicking behind, and now turn- 
ing round with a quick yet sweeping motion, before which 
the mob retreated. Off his horse, however, they seemed 
resolved to drag him ; and it was not difficult to conceive, 
if they succeeded, what must be his eventual fate. They 
were infuriate, but his contact with his assailants fortu- 
nately prevented their co-mates from hurling stones at him 
from the fear of endangering their own friends. 

A messenger to the Horse Guards had been sent from the 
House of Lords ; but, before the military could arrive, and 
fortunately (for, with their utmost expedition, they must 
have been too late), a rumour of the attack got current in 
the House of Commons. Captain Cadurcis, Lord Scrope, 
and a few other young men instantly rushed out ; and, 
ascertaining the truth, armed with good cudgels and such 
other effective weapons as they could instantly obtain, they 
mounted their horses and charged the nearly-triumphant 
populace, dealing such vigorous blows that their efforts 
soon made a visible diversion in Lord Cadurcis' favour. It 
is difficult, indeed, to convey an idea of the exertions and 
achievements of Captain Cadurcis ; no Paladin of chivalry 
ever executed such marvels on a swarm of Paynim slaves ; 
and many a bloody coxcomb and broken limb bore witness 
in Petty France that night to his achievements. Still the 
mob struggled and were not daunted by the delay in immo- 



VENETIA. 327 

lating tlieir victim. As long as they had only to fight 
against men in plain clothes, they were valorous and obsti- 
nate enough ; but the moment that the crests of a troop of 
Horse Guards were seen trotting down Parliament Street, 
everybody ran away, and in a few minutes all Palace-yard 
was as still as if the genius of the place rendered a riot 
impossible. 

Lord Cadurcis thanked his friends, who were profuse in 
their compliments to his pluck. His manner, usually play- 
ful with his intimates of his own standing, was, however, 
rather grave at present, though very cordial. He asked 
them home to dine with him ; but they were obliged to 
decline his invitation, as a division was expected ; so, saying 
' Good-bye, George, perhaps I shall see you to-night,' 
Cadurcis rode rapidly off. 

With Cadurcis there was but one step from the most 
exquisite sensitiveness to the most violent defiance. The 
experience of this day had entirely cured him of his pre- 
vious nervous deference to the feelings of society. Society 
had outraged him, and now he resolved to outrage society. 
He owed society nothing ; his reception at the House of 
Lords and the riot in Palace-yard had alike cleared his 
accounts with all orders of men, from the highest to 
the lowest. He had experienced, indeed, some kindness 
that he could not forget, but only from his own kin, and 
those who with his associations were the same as kin. 
His memory dwelt with gratification on his cousin's coura- 
geous zeal, and still more on the demonstration which 
Masham had made in his favour, which, if possible, argued 
still greater boldness and sincere regard. That was a trial 
of true affection, and an instance of moral courage, which 
Cadurcis honoured, and which he never could forget. He 
was anxious about Venetia ; he wished to stand as well 
with her as he deserved ; no better ; but he was grieved to 
think she could believe all those infamous tales at present 
current respecting himself. But, for the rest of the world, 
he delivered them all to the most absolute contempt, 



328 \ 7 ENETIA. 

disgust, and execration ; he resolved, from this time, nothing 
should ever induce him again to enter society, or admit 
the advances of a single civilised ruffian who affected to be 
social. The country, the people, their habits, laws, man- 
ners, customs, opinions, and everything connected with 
them, were viewed with the same jaundiced eye ; and his 
only object now was to quit England, to which he resolved 
never to return. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

VENETIA was, perhaps, not quite so surprised as the rest of 
her friends, when, on their return to Richmond, Lord Ca- 
durcis was not again seen. She was very unhappy : she 
recalled the scene in the garden at Cherbury some years 
back ; and, with the knowledge of the impetuosity of his 
temper, she believed she should never see him again. Poor 
Plantagenet, who loved her so much, and whose love she 
so fully returned! why might they not be happy? She 
neither doubted the constancy of his affection, nor their 
permanent felicity if they were united. She shared none 
of her mother's apprehensions or her prejudices, but she 
was the victim of duty and her vow. In the course of fonr- 
and-twenty hours, strange rumours were afloat respecting 
Lord Cadurcis ; and the newspapers on the ensuing morn- 
ing told the truth, and more than the truth. Venetia 
could not doubt as to the duel or the elopement ; but, in- 
stead of feeling indignation, she attributed what had 
occurred to the desperation of his mortified mind ; and she 
visited on herself all the fatal consequences that had hap- 
pened. At present, however, all her emotions were quickly 
absorbed in the one terrible fear that Lord Monteagle 
would die. In that dreadful and urgent apprehension 
every other sentiment merged. It was impossible to con- 
ceal her misery, and she entreated her mother to return to 
town. 



VENETIA. 329 

Very differently, however, was the catastrophe viewed 
by Lady Annabel. She, on the contrary, triumphed in her 
sagacity and her prudence. She hourly congratulated her- 
self on being the saviour of her daughter ; and though she-' 
refrained from indulging in any open exultation over 
Venetia's escape and her own profound discretion, it was, 
nevertheless, impossible for her to conceal from her daughter 
her infinite satisfaction and self-congratulation. While 
Venetia was half broken-hearted, her mother silently re- 
turned thanks to Providence for the merciful dispensation 
which had exempted her child from so much misery. 

The day after their return to town, Captain Cadurcis 
called upon them. Lady Annabel never mentioned the 
name of his cousin ; but George, finding no opportunity of 
conversing with Yenetia alone, and being, indeed, too 
much excited to speak on any other subject, plunged at 
once into the full narrative ; defended Lord Cadurcis, 
abused the Monteagles and the slanderous world, and, 
in spite of Lady Annabel's ill-concealed dissatisfaction, 
favoured her with an exact and circumstantial account of 
everything that had happened, how it happened, when it 
happened, and where it happened ; concluding by a decla- 
ration that Cadurcis was the best fellow that ever lived ; 
the most unfortunate, and the most ill-used ; and that, if 
he were to be hunted down for an affair like this, over 
which he had no control, there was not a man in London 
who could be safe for ten minutes. All that George effected 
by his zeal, was to convince Lady Annabel <that his cousin 
had entirely corrupted him ; she looked upon her former 
favourite as another victim ; but Venetia listened in silence, 
and not without solace. 

Two or three days after the riot at the House of Lords, 
Captain Cadurcis burst into his cousin's room with a tri- 
umphant countenance. ' Well, Plantagenet ! ' he exclaimed, 
' I have done it : I have seen her alone, and I have put you 
a.=? right as possible. Nothing can be better.' 

' Tell me, my dear fellow,' said Lord Cadurcis, eagerly. 



330 VEtfETIA. 

' Well, you know, I have called half-a-dozen times,' said 
George, ' but either Lady Annabel was there, or they were 
not at home, or something always occurred to prevent any 
private communication. But I met her to-day with her 
aunt ; I joined them immediately, and kept with them the 
whole morning. I am sorry to say she, I mean Venetia, is 
devilish ill ; she is, indeed. However, her aunt now is 
quite on your side, and very kind, I can tell you that. I 
put her right at first, and she has fought our battle bravely. 
Well, they stopped to call somewhere, and Venetia was so 
unwell that she would not get out, and I was left alone in 
the carriage with her. Time was precious, and I opened 
at once. I told her how wretched you were, and that the 
only thing that made you miserable was about her, because 
you were afraid she would think you so profligate, and all 
that. I went through it all; told her the exact truth, 
which, indeed, she had before heard ; but now I assured 
her, on my honour, that it was exactly what happened; 
and she said she did not doubt it, and could not, from some 
conversation which you had together the day we were all 
at Hampton Court, and that she felt that nothing could 
have been premeditated, and fully believed that everything 
had occurred as I said ; and, however she deplored it, she 
felt the same for you as ever, and prayed for your happi- 
ness. Then she told me what misery the danger of Lord 
Monteagle had occasioned her ; that she thought his death 
must have been the forerunner of her own ; but the moment 
he was declared out of danger seemed the happiest hour of 
her life. I told her you were going to leave England, and 
asked her whether she had any message for you ; and she 
said, " Tell him he is the same to me that he has always 
been." So, when her aunt returned, I jumped out and ran 
on to you at once.' 

' You are the best fellow that ever lived, George,' said 
Lord Cadurcis ; ' and now the world may go to the devil ! ' 

This message from Yenetia acted upon Lord Cadurcis 
like a charm. It instantly cleared his mind. He shut 



VENETIA. 331 

himself up in his house for a week, and wrote a farewell to 
England, perhaps the most masterly effusion of his power- 
ful spirit. It abounded in passages of overwhelming pas- 
sion, and almost Satanic sarcasm. Its composition entirely 
relieved his long-brooding brain. It contained, moreover, 
a veiled address to Venetia, delicate, tender, and irresistibly 
affecting. He appended also to the publication, the verses 
he had previously addressed to her. 

This volume, which was purchased with an avidity ex- 
ceeding even the eagerness with which his former pro- 
ductions had been received, exercised extraordinary in- 
fluence on public opinion. It enlisted the feelings of the 
nation on his side in a struggle with a coterie. It was 
suddenly discovered that Lord Cadurcis was the most 
injured of mortals, and far more interesting than ever. 
The address to the unknown object of his adoration, and 
the verses to Venetia, mystified everybody. Lady Mont- 
eagle was universally abused, and all sympathised with the 
long-treasured and baffled affection of the unhappy poet. 
Cadurcis, however, was not to be conciliated. He left his 
native shores in a blaze of glory, but with the accents of 
scorn still quivering on his lip. 



END OP BOOK IV. 



332 VENETIA. 



BOOK V. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE still waters of the broad and winding lake reflected 
the lustre of the cloudless sky. The gentle declinations of 
the green hills that immediately bordered the lake, with an 
undulating margin that now retired into bays of the most 
picturesque form, now jutted forth into woody promon- 
tories, and then opened into valleys of sequestered beauty, 
which the eye delighted to pursue, were studded with 
white villas, and cottages scarcely less graceful, and occa- 
sionally with villages, and even towns ; here and there rose 
a solitary chapel ; and, scarcely less conspicuous, the black 
spire of some cypress strikingly contrasting with the fair 
buildings or the radiant foliage that in general surrounded 
them. A rampart of azure mountains raised their huge 
forms behind the nearer hills ; and occasionally peering 
over these, like spectres on some brilliant festival, were the 
ghastly visages of the Alpine glaciers. 

It was within an hour of sunset, and the long shadows 
had fallen upon the waters ; a broad boat, with a variegated 
awning, rowed by two men, approached the steps of a 
marble terrace. The moment they had reached their point 
of destination, and had fastened the boat to its moorings, 
the men landed their oars, and immediately commenced 
singing a simple yet touching melody, wherewith it was 
their custom to apprise their employers of their arrival. 

' Will they come forth this evening, think you, Vittorio ? ' 
said one boatman to the other. 

' By our holy mother, I hope so ! ' replied his comrade, 



VENETIA. 333 

' for this light air that is now rising will do the young 
signora more good than fifty doctors.' 

' They are good people,' said Vittorio. ' It gives me 
more pleasure to row them than any persons who ever 
hired us.' 

'Ay, ay ! ' said his comrade, ' it was a lucky day when 
we first put an oar in the lake for them, heretics though 
they be.' 

' But they may be converted yet,' said his companion ; 
' for, as I was saying to Father Francisco last night, if the 
young signora dies, it is a sad thing to think what will 
become of her.' 

'And what said the good Father? ' 

' He shook his head,' said Vittorio. 

' When Father Francisco shakes his head, he means a 
great deal,' said his companion. 

At this moment a servant appeared on the terrace, to say 
the ladies were at hand ; and very shortly afterwards Lady 
Annabel Herbert, with her daughter leaning on her arm, 
descended the steps, and entered the boat. The counte- 
nances of the boatmen brightened when they saw them, 
and they both made their inquiries after the health of 
Venetia with tenderness and feeling. 

' Indeed, my good friends,' said Venetia, ' I think you 
are right, and the lake will cure me after all.' 

' The blessing of the lake be upon you, signora,' said the 
boatmen, crossing themselves. 

Just as they were moving off", came running Mistress 
Paunceforfc, quite breathless. ' Miss Herbert's fur cloak, my 
lady ; you told me to remember, my lady, and I cannot 
think how I forgot it. But I really have been so very hot 
all day, that such a thing as furs never entered my head. 
And for my part, until I travelled, I always thought furs 
were only worn in Russia. But live and learn, as I say.' 

They were now fairly floating on the calm, clear waters, 
and the rising breeze was as grateful to Venetia as the 
boatmen had imagined. 



334 VENETIA. 

A return of those symptoms which had before disquieted 
Lady Annabel for her daughter, and which were formerly 
the cause of their residence at Weymouth, had induced her, 
in compliance with the advice of her physicians, to visit 
Italy ; but the fatigue of travel had exhausted the energies 
of Venetia (for in those days the Alps were not passed in 
luxurious travelling carriages) on the very threshold of the 
promised land; and Lady Annabel had been prevailed upon 
to take a villa on the Lago Maggiore, where Venetia had 
passed two months, still suffering indeed from great debility, 
but not without advantage. 

There are few spots more favoured by nature than the 
Italian lakes and their vicinity, combining, as they do, the 
most sublime features of mountainous scenery with all the 
softer beauties and the varied luxuriance of the plain. As 
the still, bright lake is to the rushing and troubled cataract, 
is Italy to Switzerland and Savoy. Emerging from the 
chaotic ravines and the wild gorges of the Alps, the happy 
land breaks upon us like a beautiful vision. We revel in 
the sunny light, after the unearthly glare of eternal snow. 
Our sight seems renovated as we throw our eager glance 
over those golden plains, clothed with such picturesque 
trees, sparkling with such graceful villages, watered by 
such noble rivers, and crowned with such magnificent 
cities; and all bathed and beaming in an atmosphere so soft 
and radiant ! Every isolated object charms us with its 
beautiful novelty : for the first time we gaze on palaces ; 
the garden, the terrace, and the statue, recall our dreams 
beneath a colder sky ; and we turn from these to catch the 
hallowed form of some cupolaed convent, crowning the 
gentle elevation of some green hill, and flanked by the 
cypress or the pine. 

The influence of all these delightful objects and of this 
benign atmosphere on the frame and mind of Venetia had 
been considerable. After the excitement of the last year of 
her life, and the harassing and agitating scenes with which 
it closed, she found a fine solace in this fair land and this 



VENETIA. 335 

soft sky, which the sad perhaps can alone experience. Its 
repose alone afforded a consolatory contrast to the turbu- 
lent pleasure of the great world. She looked back upon 
those glittering and noisy scenes with an aversion which 
was only modified by her self-congratulation at her escape 
from their exhausting and contaminating sphere. Hero 
she recurred, but with all the advantages of a change of 
scene, and a scene so rich in novel and interesting asso- 
ciations, to the calm tenor of those days, when not a thought 
ever seemed to escape from Cherbury and its spell-bound 
seclusion. Her books, her drawings, her easel, and her 
harp, were now again her chief pursuits ; pursuits, how- 
ever, influenced by the genius of the land in which she 
lived, and therefore invested with a novel interest ; for the 
literature and the history of the country naturally attracted 
her attention ; and its fair aspects and sweet sounds, alike 
inspired her pencil and her voice. She had, in the society 
of her mother, indeed, the advantage of communing with a 
mind not less refined and cultivated than her own. Lady 
Annabel was a companion whose conversation, from reading 
and reflection, was eminently suggestive ; and their hours, 
though they lived in solitude, never hung heavy. They 
were always employed, and always cheerful. But Yenetia 
was not more than cheerful. Still very young, and gifted 
with an imaginative and therefore sanguine mind, the 
course of circumstances, however, had checked her native 
spirit, and shaded a brow which, at her time of life and 
with her temperament, should have been rather fanciful 
than pensive. If Venetia, supported by the disciplined 
energies of a strong mind, had schooled herself into not 
looking back to the past with grief, her future was certainly 
not tinged with the Iris pencil of Hope. It seemed to her 
that it was her fate that life should bring her no happier 
hours than those she now enjoyed. They did not amount 
to exquisite bliss. That was a conviction which, by no 
process of reflection, however ingenious, could she delude 
herself to credit. Venetia struggled to take refuge in 



336 VENETIA. 

content, a mood of mind perhaps less natural than it should 
be to one so young, so gifted, and so fair ! 

Their villa was surrounded by a garden in the ornate and 
artificial style of the country. A marble terrace overlooked 
the lake, crowned with many a statue and vase that held 
the aloe. The laurel and the cactus, the cypress and the 
pine, filled the air with their fragrance, or charmed the eye 
with their rarity and beauty : the walks were festooned with 
the vine, and they could raise their hands and pluck the 
glowing fruit which screened them from the beam by which 
it was ripened. In this enchanted domain Venetia might 
be often seen, a form even fairer than the sculptured nymphs 
among which she glided, catching the gentle breeze that 
played upon the surface of the lake, or watching the white 
sail that glittered in the sun as it floated over its purple 
bosom. 

Yet this beautiful retreat Venetia was soon to quit, and 
she thought of her departure with a sigh. Her mother had 
been warned to avoid the neighbourhood of the mountains 
in the winter, and the autumn was approaching its close. 
If Venetia could endure the passage of the Apennines, it 
was the intention of Lady Annabel to pass the winter on the 
coast of the Mediterranean ; otherwise to settle in one of 
the Lombard cities. At all events, in the course of a few 
weeks they were to quit their villa on the lake. 



CHAPTER II. 

A VERT few days after this excursion on the lake, Lady 
Annabel and her daughter were both surprised and pleased 
with a visit from a friend whose appearance was certainly 
very unexpected ; this was Captain Cadurcis. On his way 
from Switzerland to Sicily, he had heard of their residence 
in the neighbourhood, and had crossed over from Arona to 
visit them. 

The name of Cadurcis was still dear to Veuetia, and 



VENETIA. 337 

George had displayed such gallantry and devotion in all 
his cousin's troubles, that she was personally attached to 
him ; he had always been a favourite of her mother ; his 
arrival, therefore, was welcomed by each of the ladies with 
great cordiality. He accepted the hospitality which Lady 
Annabel offered him, and remained with them a week, a 
period which they spent in visiting the most beautiful and 
interesting spots of the lake, with which they were already 
sufficiently familiar to allow them to prove guides as able 
as they were agreeable. These excursions, indeed, con- 
tributed to the pleasure and happiness of the whole party. 
There was about Captain Cadurcis a natural cheerfulness 
which animated every one in his society ; a gay simplicity, 
difficult to define, but very charming, and which, without 
effort, often produced deeper impressions than more brilliant 
and subtle qualities. Left alone in the world, and without 
a single advantage save those that nature had conferred 
upon him, it had often been remarked, that in whatever 
circle he moved George Cadurcis always became the fa- 
vourite and everywhere made friends. His sweet and 
engaging temper had perhaps as much contributed to his 
professional success as his distinguished gallantry and skill. 
Other officers, no doubt, were as brave and able as Captain 
Cadurcis, but his commanders always signalled him out for 
favourable notice ; and, strange to say, his success, instead 
of exciting envy and ill-will, pleased even his less fortunate 
competitors. However hard another might feel his own 
lot, it was soothed by the reflection that George Cadurcis 
was at least more fortunate. His popularity, however, was 
not confined to his profession. His cousin's noble guardian, 
whom George had never seen until he ventured to call upon 
his lordship on his return to England, now looked upon him 
almost as a son, and omitted no opportunity of advancing 
his interests in the world. Of all the members of the House 
of Commons he was perhaps the only one that everybody 
praised, and his success in the world of fashion had been as 
remarkable as in his profession. These great revolutions 

z 



338 VENETIA. 

in his life and future prospects had, however, not produced 
the slightest change in his mind and manners ; and this 
was perhaps the secret spell of his prosperity. Though we 
are most of us the creatures of affectation, simplicity has a 
great charm, especially when attended, as in the present 
instance, with many agreeable and some noble qualities. 
In spite of the rough fortunes of his youth, the breeding of 
Captain Cadurcis was high ; the recollection of the race to 
which he belonged had never been forgotten by him. He 
was proud of his family. He had one of those light hearts, 
too, which enable their possessors to acquire accomplish- 
ments with facility : he had a sweet voice, a quick ear, a 
rapid eye. He acquired a language as some men learn an 
air. Then his temper was imperturbable, and although the 
most obliging and kindest-hearted creature that ever lived, 
there was a native dignity about him which prevented his 
goodnature from being abused. No sense of interest either 
could ever induce him to act contrary to the dictates of 
his judgment and his heart. At the risk of offending his 
patron, George sided with his cousin, although he had 
deeply offended his guardian, and although the whole 
world was against him. Indeed, the strong affection that 
Lord Cadurcis instantly entertained for George is not the 
least remarkable instance of the singular, though silent, 
influence that Captain Cadurcis everywhere acquired. Lord 
Cadurcis had fixed upon him for his friend from the first 
moment of their acquaintance ; and though apparently there 
could not be two characters more dissimilar, there were at 
bottom some striking points of sympathy and some strong 
bonds of union, in the generosity and courage that dis- 
tinguished both, and in the mutual blood that filled their 
veins. 

There seemed to be a tacit understanding between the 
several members of our party that the name of Lord Cadur- 
cis was not to be mentioned. Lady Annabel made no in- 
quiry after him ; Venetia was unwilling to hazard a question 
which would annoy her mother, and of which the answer 



VENETIA. 339 

could not bring her much satisfaction ; and Captain Cadurcis 
did not think fit himself to originate any conversation on 
the subject. Nevertheless, Venetia could not help some- 
times fancying, when her eyes met his, that their mutual 
thoughts were the same, and both dwelling on one who 
was absent, and of whom her companion would willingly 
have conversed. To confess the truth, indeed, George 
Cadurcis was on his way to join his cousin, who had crossed 
over from Spain to Barbary, and journeyed along the Afri- 
can coast from Tangiers to Tripoli. Their point of reunion 
was to be Sicily or Malta. Hearing of the residence of the 
Herberts on the lake, he thought it would be but kind to 
Plantagenet to visit them, and perhaps to bear to him 
some message from Venetia. There was nothing, indeed, 
on which Captain Cadurcis was more intent than to effect 
the union between his cousin and Miss Herbert. He was 
deeply impressed with the sincerity of Plantagenet' s passion, 
and he himself entertained for the lady the greatest affection 
and admiration. He thought she was the only person whom 
he had ever known, who was really worthy to be his cousin's 
bride. And, independent of her personal charms and un- 
doubted talents, she had displayed during the outcry against 
Lord Cadurcis so much good sense, such a fine spirit, and 
such modest yet sincere affection for the victim, that George 
Cadurcis had almost lost his own heart to her, when he was 
endeavouring to induce her not utterly to reject that of 
another ; and it became one of the dreams of his life, that 
in a little time, when all, as he fondly anticipated, had 
ended as it should, and as he wished it, he should be able 
to find an occasional home at Cadurcis Abbey, and enjoy 
the charming society of one whom he had already taught 
himself to consider as a sister. 

' And to-night you must indeed go ? ' said Yenetia, as 
they were walking together on the terrace. It was the 
only time that they had been alone together during his 
visit. 

'I must start from Arona at daybreak,' replied George; 
z 2 



340 VENETIA. 

' and I must travel quickly, for in less than a month I 
must be in Sicily.' 

' Sicily ! Why are you going to Sicily ? ' 

Captain Cadurcis smiled. ' I am going to join a friend of 
ours,' he answered. 

' Plantagenet ? ' she said. 

Captain Cadurcis nodded assent. 

' Poor Plantagenet ! ' said Venetia. 

' His name has been on my lips several times,' said 
George. 

' I am sure of that,' said Venetia. ' Is he well ? ' 

' He writes to me in fair spirits,' said Captain Cadurcis. 
' He has been travelling in Spain, and now he is somewhere 
in Africa ; we are to meet in Sicily or Malta. I think travel 
has greatly benefited him. He seems quite delighted with 
his glimpse of Oriental manners, and I should scarcely be 
surprised if he were now to stretch on to Constantinople.' 

' I wonder if he will ever return to England,' said Venetia, 
thoughtfully. 

' There is only one event that would induce him,' said 
Captain Cadurcis. And then after a pause he added, 'You 
will not ask me what it is ? ' 

' I wish he were in England, and were happy,' said 
Venetia. 

' It is in your power to effect both results,' said her com- 
panion. 

'It is useless to recur to that subject,' said Venetia. 
' Plantagenet knows my feelings towards him, but fate has 
forbidden our destinies to be combined.' 

' Then he will never return to England, and never be 
happy. Ah, Venetia ! what shall I tell him when we meet? 
What message am I to bear him from you ? ' 

' Those regards which he ever possessed, and has never 
forfeited,' said Venetia. 

' Poor Cadurcis ! ' said his cousin, shaking his head, ' if 
any man ever had reason to be miserable, it is he.' 

4 We are none of us very happy, I think,' said Venetia, 



VENETIA. 341 

mournfully. ' I am sure when I look back to the last few 
years of my life it seems to me that there is some curse 
hanging over our families. I cannot penetrate it ; it baffles 
me.' 

' I am sure,' said Captain Cadurcis with great animation, 
' nay, I would pledge my existence cheerfully on the venture, 
that if Lady Annabel would only relent towards Cadurcis, 
we should all be the happiest people in the world.' 

' Heigho ! ' said Venetia. ' There are other cares in our 
house besides our unfortunate acquaintance with your 
cousin. We were the last people in the world with whom 
he should ever have become connected.' 

' And yet it was an intimacy that commenced auspiciously,' 
said her friend. ' I am sure I have sat with Cadurcis, and 
listened to him by the hour, while he has told me of all the 
happy days at Cherbury when you were both children ; the 
only happy days, according to him, that he ever knew.' 

' Yes ! they were happy days,' said Venetia. 

' And what connection could have offered a more rational 
basis for felicity than your union ? ' he continued. ' What- 
ever the world may think, I, who know Cadurcis to the 
very bottom of his heart, feel assured that you never would 
have repented for an instant becoming the sharer of his 
life ; your families were of equal rank, your estates joined, 
he felt for your mother the affection of a son. There 
seemed every element that could have contributed to earthly 
bliss. As for his late career, you who know all have already, 
have always indeed, viewed it with charity. Placed in his 
position, who could have acted otherwise ? I know very 
well that his genius, which might recommend him to 
another woman, is viewed by your mother with more than 
apprehension. It is true that a man of his exquisite sen- 
sibility requires sympathies as refined to command his 
nature. It is no common mind that could maintain its 
hold over Cadurcis, and his spirit could not yield but to 
rare and transcendent qualities. He found them, Venetia, 
he found them in her whom he had known longest and 



342 VENETIA. 

most intimately, and loved from his boyhood. Talk of 
constancy, indeed ! who has been so constant as my cousin ? 
No, Venetia ! you may think fit to bow to the feelings *of 
your mother, and it would be impertinence in me to doubt 
for an instant the propriety of your conduct : I do not 
doubt it ; I admire it ; I admire you, and everything you 
have done ; none can view your behaviour throughout all 
these painful transactions with more admiration, I might 
even say with more reverence, than myself ; but, Yenetia, 
you never can persuade me, you have never attempted to 
persuade me, that you yourself are incredulous of the 
strength and permanency of my cousin's love.' 

' Ah, George ! you are our friend ! ' said Venetia, a tear 
stealing down her cheek. ' But, indeed, we must not talk 
of these things. As for myself, I think not of happiness. 
I am certain I am not born to be happy. I wish only to 
live calmly ; contentedly, I would say ; but that, perhaps, 
is too much. My feelings have been so harrowed, my 
mind so harassed, during these last few years, and so many 
causes of pain and misery seem ever hovering round my 
existence, that I do assure you, my dear friend, I have 
grown old before my time. Ah ! you may smile, George, 
but my heart is heavy ; it is indeed.' 

' I wish I could lighten it,' said Captain Cadurcis. ' I 
fear I am somewhat selfish in wishing you to marry my 
cousin, for then you know I should have a permanent and 
authentic claim to your regard. But no one, at least I 
think so, can feel more deeply interested in your welfare 
than I do. I never knew any one like you, and I always 
tell Cadurcis so, and that I think makes him worse, but I 
cannot help it.' 

Venetia could not refrain from smiling at the simplicity 
of this confession. 

'Well,' continued her companion, ' everything, .after all, 
is for the best. You and Plantagenet are both very young ; 
I live in hopes that I shall yet see you Lady Cadurcis.' 

Venetia shook her head, but was not sorry that their 



VENETIA. 843 

somewhat melancholy conversation should end in a livelier 
vein. So they entered the villa. 

The hour of parting was painful, and the natural gaiety 
of Captain Cadurcis deserted him. He had become greatly 
attached to the Herberts. Without any female relatives of 
his own, their former intimacy and probable connection 
with his cousin had taught him to look upon them in some 
degree in the light of kindred. He had originally indeed 
become acquainted with them in all the blaze of London 
society, not very calculated to bring out the softer tints 
and more subdued tones of our character, but even then 
the dignified grace of Lady Annabel and the radiant beauty 
of Venetia, had captivated him, and he had cultivated their 
society with assiduity and extreme pleasure. The grand 
crisis of his cousin's fortunes had enabled him to become 
intimate with the more secret and serious qualities of 
Venetia, and from that moment he had taken the deepest 
interest in everything connected with her. His happy and 
unexpected meeting in Italy had completed the spell ; and 
now that he was about to leave them, uncertain even if 
they should ever meet again, his soft heart trembled, and 
he could scarcely refrain from tears as he pressed their 
hands, and bade them his sincere adieus. 

The moon had risen ere he entered his boat, and flung a 
rippling line of glittering light on the bosom of the lake. 
The sky was without a cloud, save a few thin fleecy vapours 
that hovered over the azure brow of a distant mountain. 
The shores of the lake were suffused with the serene efful- 
gence, and every object was so distinct, that the eye was 
pained by the lights of the villages, that every instant be- 
came more numerous and vivid. The bell of a small chapel 
on the opposite shore, and the distant chant of some fisher- 
men still working at their nets, were the only sounds that 
broke the silence which they did not disturb. Reclined in 
his boat, George Cadurcis watched the vanishing villa of 
the Herberts, until the light in the principal chamber was 
the only sign that assured him of its site. That chamber 



344 VENETIA, 

held Venetia, the unhappy Yenetia ! He covered his face 
with his hand when even the light of her chamber vanished, 
and, full of thoughts tender and disconsolate, he at length 
arrived at Arona. 



CHAPTER III. 

PURSUANT to their plans, the Herberts left the Lago Mag- 
giore towards the end of October, and proceeded by gentle 
journeys to the Apennines. Before they crossed this barrier, 
they were to rest awhile in one of the Lombard cities ; and 
now they were on the point of reaching Arqua, which 
Venetia had expressed a strong desire to visit. 

At the latter part of the last century, the race of tourists, 
the offspring of a long peace, and the rapid fortunes made 
during the Avar, did not exist. Travelling was then con- 
fined to the aristocracy, and though the English, when 
opportunity offered, have ever been a restless people, the 
gentle bosom of the Euganean Hills was then rarely dis- 
turbed arnid its green and sequestered valleys. 

There is not perhaps in all the Italian region, fertile as it 
is in interesting associations and picturesque beauty, a spot 
that tradition and nature have so completely combined to 
hallow, as the last residence of Petrarch. It seems, indeed, 
to have been formed for the retirement of a pensive and 
poetic spirit. It recedes from the world by a succession of 
delicate acclivities clothed with vineyards and orchards, 
until, winding within these hills, the mountain hamlet is at 
length discovered, enclosed by two ridges that slope towards 
each other, and seem to shut out all the passions of a 
troubled race. The houses are scattered at intervals on the 
steep sides of these summits, and on a little knoll is the 
mansion of the poet, built by himself, and commanding a 
rich and extensive view, that ends only with the shores of 
the Adriatic sea. His tomb, a sarcophagus of red marble, 
supported by pillars, doubtless familiar to the reader, is at 



VENETIA. 345 

Land ; and, placed on an elevated site, gives a solemn im- 
pression to a scene, of which the character would otherwise 
be serenely cheerful. 

Our travellers were surprised to find that the house of 
the poet was inhabited by a very different tenant to the 
rustic occupier they had anticipated. They heard that a 
German gentleman had within the last year fixed upon it 
as the residence of himself and his wife. The peasants 
were profuse in their panegyrics of this visitor, whose 
arrival had proved quite an era in the history of their 
village. According to them, a kinder and more charitable 
gentleman never breathed ; his whole life was spent in 
studying and contributing to the happiness of those around 
him. The sick, the sorrowful, and the needy were ever 
sure of finding a friend in him, and merit a generous patron. 
From him came portions to the portionless ; no village 
maiden need despair of being united to her betrothed, while 
he could assist her ; and at his own cost he had sent to the 
academy of Bologna, a youth whom his father would have 
made a cowherd, but whom nature predisposed to be a 
painter. The inhabitants believed this benevolent and 
generous person was a physician, for he attended the sick, 
prescribed for their complaints, and had once even performed 
an operation with great success. It seemed that, since 
Petrarch, no one had ever been so popular at Arqua as this 
kind German. Lady Annabel and Venetia were interested 
with the animated narratives of the ever-active beneficence 
of this good man, and Lady Annabel especially regretted 
that his absence deprived her of the gratification of be- 
coming acquainted with a character so rare and so in- 
valuable. In the meantime they availed themselves of the 
offer of his servants to view the house of Petrarch, for their 
master had left orders, that his absence should never deprive 
a pilgrim from paying his homage to the shrine of genius. 

The house, consisting of two floors, had recently been 
repaired by the present occupier. It was simply furnished. 
The ground-floor was allotted to the servants. The upper 



346 VENETIA. 

story contained five rooms, three of which were of good 
size, and two closets. In one of these were the traditionary 
chair and table of Petrarch, and here, according to their 
guides, the master of the house passed a great portion of 
his time in study, to which, by their account, he seemed 
devoted. The adjoining chamber was his library ; its 
windows opened on a balcony looking on two lofty and 
conical hills, one topped with a convent, while the valley 
opened on the side and spread into a calm and very- 
pleasant view. Of the other apartments, one served as a 
saloon, but there was nothing in it remarkable, except an 
admirably painted portrait of a beautiful woman, which the 
servant informed them was their mistress. 

' But that surely is not a German physiognomy ? ' said 
Lady Annabel. 

' The mistress is an Italian,' replied the servant. 

' She is very handsome, of whatever nation she may be,' 
replied Lady Annabel. 

' Oh ! how I should have liked to have met these happy 
people, mamma,' said Venetia, 'for happy they surely 
must be.' 

' They seem to be good people,' said Lady Annabel. ' It 
really lightened my heart to hear of all this gentleman's 
kind deeds.' 

' Ah ! if the signora only knew the master,' said their 
guide, ' she would indeed know a good man.' 

They descended to the garden, which certainly was not 
like the garden of their villa ; it had been but lately a wil- 
derness of laurels, but there were evidences that the eye 
and hand of taste were commencing its restoration with 
effect. 

' The master did this,' said their guide. ' He will allow 
no one to work in the garden but himself. It is a week 
since he went to Bologna, to see our Paulo. He gained a 
prize at the academy, and his father begged the master to 
be present when it was conferred on him ; he said it would 
do his son so much good ! So the master went, though it is 



VENETIA. 347 

the only time he has quitted Qua since he came to reside 
here.' 

' And how long has he resided here ? ' inquired Venetia. 

' 'Tis the second autumn,' said the guide, ' and he came 
in the spring. If the signora would only wait, we expect 
the master home to-night or to-morrow, and he would be 
glad to see her.' 

' We cannot wait, my friend,' said Lady Annabel, reward- 
ing the guide ; ' but you will thank your master in our 
names, for the kindness we have experienced. You are all 
happy in such a friend.' 

' I must write my name in Petrarch's house,' said Venetia. 
' Adieu, happy Arqua ! Adieu, happy dwellers in this 
happy valley ! ' 



CHAPTER IV. 

JUST as Lady Annabel and her daughter arrived at Rovigo, 
one of those sudden and violent storms that occasionally 
occur at the termination of an Italian autumn raged with 
irresistible fury. The wind roared with a noise that over- 
powered the thunder ; then came a rattling shower of hail, 
with stones as big as pigeons' eggs, succeeded by rain, not 
in showers, but literally in cataracts. The only thing to 
which a tempest of rain in Italy can be compared is the 
bursting of a waterspout. Venetia could scarcely believe 
that this could be the same day of which the golden morn- 
ing had found her among the sunny hills of Arqua. This 
unexpected vicissitude induced Lady Annabel to alter her 
plans, and she resolved to rest at Rovigo, where she was 
glad to find that they could be sheltered in a commodious 
inn. 

The building had originally been a palace, and in its halls 
and galleries, and the vast octagonal vestibule on which the 
principal apartments opened, it retained many noble indi- 
cations of the purposes to which it was formerly destined. 



348 VENETIA. 

At present, a lazy innkeeper who did nothing ; his bustling 
wife, who seemed equally at home in the saloon, the kitchen, 
and even the stable ; and a solitary waiter, were the only 
inmates, except the Herberts, and a travelling party, who 
had arrived shortly after them, and who, like them, had 
been driven by stress of weather to seek refuge at a place 
where otherwise they had not intended to remain. 

A blazing fire of pine wood soon gave cheerfulness to 
the vast and somewhat desolate apartment into which our 
friends had been ushered ; their sleeping-room was adjoin- 
ing, but separated. In spite of the lamentations of Paunce- 
fort, who had been drenched to the skin, and who required 
much more waiting upon than her mistress, Lady Annabel 
and Venetia at length produced some degree of comfort. 
They drew the table near the fire ; they ensconced them- 
selves behind an old screen ; and, producing their books and 
work notwithstanding the tempest, they contrived to domes- 
ticate themselves at Bovigo. 

* I cannot help thinking of Arqua and its happy tenants, 
mamma,' said Venetia. 

' And yet, perhaps, they may have their secret sorrows,' 
said Lady Annabel. ' I know not why, I always associate 
seclusion with unhappiness.' 

Venetia remembered Cherbury. Their life at Cherbury 
was like the life of the German at Arqua. A chance visitor 
to Cherbury in their absence, viewing the beautiful resi- 
dence and the fair domain, and listening to the tales which 
they well might hear of all her mother's grace and goodness, 
might perhaps too envy its happy occupiers. But were 
they happy ? Had they no secret sorrows ? Was their 
seclusion associated with unhappiness ? These were re- 
flections that made Venetia grave ; but she opened her 
journal, and, describing the adventures and feelings of the 
morning, she dissipated some mournful reminiscences. 

The storm still raged, Venetia had quitted the saloon in 
which her mother and herself had been sitting, and had 
repaired to the adjoining chamber to fetch a book. The 



VENETIA. 349 

door of this room, opened, as all the other entrances of the 
different apartments, on to the octagonal vestibule. Just 
as she was quitting the room, and about to return to her 
mother, the door of the opposite chamber opened, and there 
came forward a gentleman in a Venetian dress of black velvet. 
His stature was much above the middle height, though 
his figure, which was remarkably slender, was bowed ; not 
by years certainly, for his countenance, though singularly 
emaciated, still retained traces of youth. His hair, which 
he wore very long, descended over his shoulders, and must 
originally have been of a light golden colour, but now was 
severely touched with grey. His countenance was very 
pallid, so colourless indeed that its aspect was almost 
unearthly ; but his large blue eyes, that were deeply set in 
his majestic brow, still glittered with fire, and their expres- 
sion alone gave life to a visage, which, though singularly 
beautiful in its outline, from its faded and attenuated cha- 
racter seemed rather the countenance of a corpse than of a 
breathing being. 

The glance of the stranger caught that of Venetia, and 
seemed to fascinate her. She suddenly became motionless ; 
wildly she stared at the stranger, who, in his turn, seemed 
arrested in his progress, and stood still as a statue, with his 
eyes fixed with absorbing interest on the beautiful appa- 
rition before him. An expression of perplexity and pain 
flitted over the amazed features of Venetia ; and then it 
seemed that, by some almost supernatural effort, confusion 
amounting to stupefaction suddenly brightened and ex- 
panded into keen and overwhelming intelligence. . Exclaim- 
ing in a frenzied tone, ' My father ! ' Venetia sprang forward, 
and fell senseless on the stranger's breast. 

Such, after so much mystery, so many aspirations, so 
much anxiety, and so much suffering, such was the first 
meeting of Venetia Herbert with her father ! 

Marmion Herbert, himself trembling and speechless, bore 
the apparently lifeless Venetia into his apartment. Not per- 
mitting her for a- moment to quit his embrace, he seated 



350 VENETIA. 

himself, and gazed silently on the inanimate and unknown 
form he held so strangely within his arms. Those lips, now 
closed as if in death, had nttered however one word which 
thrilled to his heart, and still echoed, like a supernatural 
annunciation, within his ear. He examined with an eye of 
agitated scrutiny the fair features no longer sensible of his 
presence. He gazed upon that transparent brow, as if he 
would read some secret in its pellucid veins ; and touched 
those long locks of golden hair with a trembling finger, 
that seemed to be wildly seeking for some vague and mira- 
culous proof of inexpressible identity. The fair creature had 
called him ' Father.' His dreaming reveries had never pic- 
tured a being half so beautiful ! She called him ' Father ! ' 
The word had touched his brain, as lightning cuts a tree. 
He looked around him with a distracted air, then gazed on 
the tranced form he held with a glance which would have 
penetrated her soul, and murmured unconsciously the wild 
word she had uttered. She called him ' Father ! ' He dared 
not think who she might be. His thoughts were wan- 
dering in a distant land ; visions of another life, another 
country, rose before him, troubled and obscure. Earned 
aspirations, and hopes blighted in the bud, and the che- 
rished secrets of his lorn existence, clustered like clouds 
upon his perplexed, yet creative, brain. She called him, 
' Father ! ' It was a word to make him mad. ' Father ! ' 
This beautiful being had called tiim ' Father,' and seemed 
to have expired, as it were, in the irresistible expression. 
His heart yearned to her ; he had met her embrace with an 
inexplicable sympathy ; her devotion had seemed, as it were, 
her duty and his right. Yet who was she ? He was a 
father. It was a fact, a fact alike full of solace and morti- 
fication, the consciousness of which never deserted him. 
But he was the father of an unknown child ; to him the 
child of his poetic dreams, rather than his reality. And 
now there came this radiant creature, and called him 
' Father ! ' Was he awake, and in the harsh busy world ; 
or was it the apparition of an over-excited imagination, 



VENETIA. 351 

brooding too constantly on one fond idea, on which he now 
gazed so fixedly ? Was this some spirit ? Would that she 
would speak again ! Would that those sealed lips would 
part and utter but one word, would but again call him 
' Father,' and he asked no more ! 

' Father ! ' to be called ' Father ' by one whom he could 
not name, by one over whom he mused in solitude, by one 
to whom he had poured forth all the passion of his desolate 
soul ; to be called ' Father ' by this being was the aspiring 
secret of his life. He had painted her to himself in his 
loneliness, he had conjured up dreams of ineffable loveliness, 
and inexpressible love ; he had led with her an imaginary 
life of thrilling tenderness ; he had indulged in a delicious 
fancy of mutual interchange of the most exquisite offices 
of our nature ; and then, when he had sometimes looked 
around him, and found' no daughter there, no beaming 
countenance of purity to greet him with its constant smile, 
and receive the quick and ceaseless tribute of his vigilant 
affection, the tears had stolen down his lately- excited fea- 
tures, all the consoling beauty of his visions had vanished 
into air, he had felt the deep curse of his desolation, and 
had anathematised the cunning brain that made his misery 
a thousand-fold keener by the mockery of its transporting 
illusions. 

And now there came this transcendent creature, with a 
form more glowing than all his dreams ; a voice more mu- 
sical than a seraphic chorus, though it had uttered but 
one thrilling word : there came this transcendent creature, 
beaming with grace, beauty, and love, and had fallen upon 
his heart, and called him ' Father ! ' 

Herbert looked up to heaven as if waiting for some fresh 
miracle to terminate the harrowing suspense of his tor- 
tured mind ; Herbert looked down upon his mysterious 
companion ; the rose was gradually returning to her cheek, 
her lips seemed to tremble with reviving breath. There was 
only one word more strange to his ear than that which she 
had uttered, but an irresistible impulse sent forth the sound. 



352 VENETIA. 

' Yenetia ! ' he exclaimed. 

The eyes of the maiden slowly opened ; she stared around 
her with a vague glance of perplexity, not unmingled with 
pain ; she looked up ; she caught the rapt gaze of her father, 
bending over her with fondness yet with fear ; his lips 
moved, for a moment they refused to articulate, yet at length 
they again uttered, ' Venetia ! ' And the only response she 
made was to cling to him with nervous energy, and hide her 
face in his bosom. 

Herbert pressed her to his heart. Yet even now he 
hesitated to credit the incredible union. Again he called 
her by her name, but added with rising confidence, ' My 
Venetia ! ' 

' Tour child, your child,' she murmured. ' Your own 
Venetia.' 

He pressed his lips to hers ; he breathed over her a thou- 
sand blessings ; she felt his tears trickling on her neck. 

At length Venetia looked up and sighed; she was ex- 
hausted by the violence of her emotions : her father relaxed 
his grasp with infinite tenderness, watching her with deli- 
cate solicitude ; she leaned her arm upon his shoulder with 
downcast eyes. 

Herbert gently took her disengaged hand, and pressed it 
to his lips. ' I am as in a dream,' murmured Venetia. 

' The daughter of my heart has found her sire,' said 
Herbert in an impassioned voice. ' The father who has 
long lived upon her fancied image ; the father, I fear, she 
has been bred up to hate.' 

' Oh ! no, no !' said Venetia, speaking rapidly and with a 
slight shiver ; ' not hate ! it was a secret, bis being was a 
secret, his name was never mentioned ; it was unknown.' 

' A secret ! My existence a secret from my child, my 
beautiful fond child ! ' exclaimed Herbert in a tone even 
more desolate than bitter. ' Why did they not let you at 
least hate me ! ' 

' My father ! ' said Venetia, in a firmer voice, and with 
returning animation, yet gazing around her with a still 



VENETIA. 353 

distracted air. ' Am I with my father ? The clouds clear 
from my brain. I remember that we met. Where was 
it ? Was it at Arqua ? In the garden ? I am with my 
father ! ' she continued in a rapid tone and with a wild 
smile. ' Oh ! let me look on him ; ' and she turned round, 
and gazed upon Herbert with a serious scrutiny. ' Are 
you my father ? ' she continued, in a still, small voice. 
' Your hair has grown grey since last I saw you ; it was 
golden then, like mine. I know you are my father,' she 
added, after a pause, and in a tone almost of gaiety. ' You 
cannot deceive me. I know your name. They did not 
tell it me ; I found it out myself, but it made me very ill, 
very ; and I do not think I have ever been quite well since. 
You are Marmion Herbert. My mother had a dog called 
Marmion, when I was a little girl, but I did not know I 
had a father then.' 

' Venetia ! ' exclaimed Herbert, with streaming eyes, as 
he listened with anguish to these incoherent sentences. 
' My Venetia loves me ! ' 

' Oh ! she always loved you,' replied Venetia ; always, 
always. Before she knew her father she loved him. I 
dare say you think I do not love you, because I am not 
used to speak to a father. Everything must be learnt, you 
know,' she said, with a faint, sad smile ; ' and then it was 
so sudden ! I do not think my mother knows it yet. And 
after all, though I found you out in a moment, still, I know 
not why, I thought it was a picture. But I read your 
verses, and I knew them by heart at once ; but now my 
memory has worn out, for I am ill, and everything has gone 
cross with me. And all because my father wrote me verses. 
' Tis very strange, is not it ? ' 

' Sweet lamb of my affections,' exclaimed Herbert to 
himself, ' I fear me much this sudden meeting with one from 
whose bosom you ought never to have been estranged, has 
been for the moment too great a trial for this delicate brain.' 

' I will not tell my mother,' said Venetia ; 'she will be 
angry.' 

A A 



354 VENETIA. 

' Your mother, darling ; ' where is your mother ? ' said 
Herbert, looking, if possible, paler than he was wont. 

She was at Arqua with me, and on the lake for months, 
but where we are now, I cannot say. If I could only re- 
member where we are now,' she added with earnestness, 
and with a struggle to collect herself, 'I should know 
everything.' 

' This is Rovigo, my child, the inn of Rovigo. You are 
travelling with your mother. Is it not so ? ' 

' Yes ! and we came this morning, and it rained. Now 
I know everything,' said Yenetia, with an animated and 
even cheerful air. 

' And we met in the vestibule, my sweet,' continued 
Herbert, in a soothing voice ; ' we came out of opposite 
chambers, and you knew me ; my Venetia knew me. 
Try to tell me, my darling,' he added, in a tone of coaxing 
fondness, ' try to remember how Venetia knew her father.' 

' He was so like his picture at Cherbury,' replied 
Venetia. 

' Cherbury ! ' exclaimed Herbert, with a deep-drawn, sigh. 

' Only your hair has grown grey, dear father ; but it is 
long, quite as long as in your picture.' 

' Her dog called Marmion ! ' murmured Herbert to him- 
self, ' and my portrait, too ! You saw your father's portrait, 
then, every day, love ? ' 

'Oh, no ! said Venetia, shaking her head, ' only once, 
only once. And I never told mamma. It was where no 
one could go, but I went there one day. It was in a room 
that no one ever entered except mamma, but I entered it. 
I stole the key, and had a fever, and in my fever I confessed 
all. But I never knew it. Mamma never told me I con- 
fessed it, until many, many years afterwards. It was the 
first, the only time she ever mentioned to me your name, 
my father.' 

' And she told you to shun me, to hate me ? She told 
you I was a villain, a profligate, a demon ? eh ? eh ? Was 
it not so, Venetia ? ' 



VENETIA. 355 

' She told me that you had broken her heart,' said 
Venetia ; ' and she prayed to God that her child might not 
be so miserable.' 

' Oh, my Venetia! ' exclaimed Herbert, pressing her to 
his breast, and in a voice stifled with emotion, ' I feel now 
we might have been happy ! ' 

In the meantime the prolonged absence of her daughter 
surprised Lady Annabel. At length she rose, and walked 
into their adjoining apartment, but to her surprise Yenetia 
was not there. Returning to her saloon, she found Paunce- 
fort and the waiter arranging the table for dinner. 

' Where is Miss Herbert, Pauncefort ? ' inquired Lady 
Annabel. 

' I am sure, my lady, I cannot say. I have no doubt 
she is in the other room.' 

' She is not there, for I have just quitted it,' replied 
Lady Annabel. ' How veiy strange ! You have not seen 
the signora ? ' inquired Lady Annabel of the waiter. 

' The signora is in the room with the gentleman.' 

' The gentleman ! ' exclaimed Lady Annabel. ' Tell me, 
good man, what do you mean ? I am inquiring for my 
daughter.' 

' I know well the signora is talking of her daughter,' re- 
plied the waiter. 

' But do you know my daughter by sight ? Surely you 
you must mean some one else.' 

'Do I know the signora' s daughter?' said the waiter. 
' The beautiful young lady, with hair like Santa Marguerita, 
in the church of the Holy Trinity ! I tell the signora, I 
saw her carried into numero 4, in the arms of the Signer 
Forestiere, who arrived this morning.' 

' Yenetia is ill,' said Lady Annabel. ' Show me to the 
room, my friend.' 

Lady Annabel accordingly, with a hurried step, following 
her guide, quitted the chamber. Pauncefort remained fixed 
to the earth, the very picture of perplexity. 

' "Well, to be sure ! ' she exclaimed, ' was anything ever 
A A 2 



356 VENETIA. 

so strange ! In the arms of Signer Forestiere ! Forestiere ! 
An English name. There is no person of the name of Forest 
that I know. And in his arms, too ! I should not wonder 
if it was my lord after all. "Well, I should be glad if he 
were to come to light again, for, after all, my lady may say 
what she likes, but if Miss Venetia don't marry Lord Cadur- 
cis, I must say marriages were never made in heaven ! ' 



CHAPTER V. 

THE waiter threw open the door of Mr. Herbert's chamber, 
and Lady Annabel swept in with a majesty she generally 
assumed when about to meet strangers. The first thing 
she beheld was her daughter in the arms of a man whose 
head was bent, and who was embracing her. Notwith- 
standing this astounding spectacle, Lady Annabel neither 
started nor screamed ; she only said in an audible tone, 
and one rather expressing astonishment than agitation, 
'Yenetia!' 

Immediately the stranger looked up, and Lady Annabel 
beheld her husband ! 

She was rooted to the earth. She turned deadly pale ; 
for a moment her countenance expressed only terror, but 
the terror quickly changed into aversion. Suddenly she 
rushed forward, and exclaimed in a tone in which decision 
conquered dismay, ' Restore me my child ! ' 

The moment Herbert had recognised his wife he had 
dexterously disengaged himself from the grasp of Venetia, 
whom he left on the chair, and meeting Lady Annabel with 
extended arms, that seemed to deprecate her wrath, he 
said, ' I seek not to deprive you of her ; she is yours, and 
he is worthy of you ; but respect, for a few moments, the 
feelings of a father who has met his only child in a manner 
so unforeseen.' 

The presence of her mother instantaneously restored 



VEXETIA. 357 

Venetia to herself. Her mind was in a moment cleared 
and settled. Her past and peculiar life, and all its incidents, 
recurred to her with their accustomed order, vividness, and 
truth. She thoroughly comprehended her present situation. 
Actuated by long-cherished feelings and the necessity of the 
occasion, she rose and threw herself at her mother's feet and 
exclaimed, ' mother ! he is my father, love him ! ' 

Lady Annabel stood with an averted countenance, Vene- 
tia clinging to her hand, which she had caught when she 
rushed forward, and which now fell passive by Lady Anna- 
bel's side, giving no sign, by any pressure or motion, of the 
slightest sympathy with her daughter, or feeling for the 
strange and agonising situation in which they were both 
placed. 

' Annabel,' said Herbert, in a voice that trembled, though 
the speaker struggled to appear calm, ' be charitable ! I 
have never intruded upon your privacy ; I will not now 
outrage it. Accident, or some diviner motive, has brought 
us together this day. If you will not treat me with kind- 
ness, look not upon me with aversion before our child.' 

Still she was silent and motionless, her countenance 
hidden from her husband and her daughter, but her erect 
and haughty form betokening her inexorable mind. ' An- 
nabel,' said Herbert, who had now withdrawn to some 
distance, and leant against a pillar, ' will not then nearly 
twenty years of desolation purchase one moment of inter- 
course ? I have injured you. Be it so. This is not the 
moment I will defend myself. But have I not suffered ? 
Is not this meeting a punishment deeper even than your 
vengeance could devise ? Is it nothing to behold this beau- 
tiful child, and feel that she is only yours ? Annabel, look 
on me, look on me only one moment ! My frame is bowed, 
my hair is grey, my heart is withered ; the principle of 
existence waxes faint and slaek in this attenuated frame. 
I am no longer that Herbert on whom you once smiled, but 
a man stricken with many sorrows. The odious conviction 
of my life cannot long haunt you ; yet a little while, and 



358 VENETIA. 

my memory will alone remain. Think of this, Annabel ; I 
beseech you, think of it. Oh ! believe me, when the speedy 
honr arrives that will consign me to the grave, where I shall 
at least find peace, it will not be utterly without satisfaction 
that you will remember that we met if even by accident, 
and parted at least not with harshness ! ' 

' Mother, dearest mother ! ' murmured Venetia, ' speak 
to him, look on him ! ' 

'Venetia,' said her mother, without turning her head, 
but in a calm, firm tone, ' your father has seen you, has 
conversed with you. Between your father and myself there 
can be nothing to communicate, either of fact or feeling. 
Now let us depart.' 

' No, no, not depart ! ' said Venetia, franticly. ' You did 
not say depart, dear mother ! I cannot go,' she added in a 
low and half-hysterical voice. 

' Desert me, then,' said the mother. ' A fitting conse- 
quence of your private communications with your father,' 
she added in a tone of bitter scorn ; and Lady Annabel 
moved to depart, but Venetia, still kneeling, clung to her 
convulsively. 

' Mother, mother, you shall not go ; you shall not leave 
me ; we will never part, mother,' continued Venetia, in a 
tone almost of violence, as she perceived her mother give 
no indication of yielding to her wish. ' Are my feelings 
then nothing ? ' she then exclaimed. ' Is this your sense 
of my fidelity ? Am I for ever to be a victim ? ' She 
loosened her hold of her mother's hand, her mother moved 
on, Venetia fell upon her forehead and uttered a faint 
scream. The heart of Lady Annabel relented when she 
fancied her daughter suffered physical pain, however slight; 
she hesitated, she turned, she hastened to her child ; her 
husband had simultaneously advanced ; in the rapid move- 
ment and confusion her hand touched that of Herbert. 

' I yield her to you, Annabel,' said Herbert, placing 
Venetia in her mother's arms. ' You mistake me, as you 
have often mistaken me, if you think I seek to practise on 



VENETIA. 359 

the feelings of this angelic child. She is yours ; may she 
compensate you for the misery I have caused you, but never 
sought to occasion ! ' 

' I am not hurt, dear mother,' said Venetia, as her mother 
tenderly examined her forehead. ' Dear, dear mother, why 
did you reproach me ? ' 

' Forget it,' said Lady Annabel, in a softened tone ; ' for 
indeed you are irreproachable.' 

' Annabel ! ' said Herbert, 'may not this child be some 
atonement, this child, of whom I solemnly declare I would 
not deprive you, though I would willingly forfeit my life 
for a year of her affection ; and your, your sufferance,' he 
added. 

' Mother ! speak to him,' said Venetia, with her head on 
her mother's bosom, who still, however, remained rigidly 
standing. But Lady Annabel was silent. 

'Your mother was ever stern and cold, Venetia,' said 
Herbert, the bitterness of his heart at length expressing 
itself. 

' Never,' said Venetia, with great energy ; ' never ; you 
know not my mother. Was she stern and cold when she 
visited each night in secret your portrait ? ' said Venetia, 
looking round upon her astonished father, with her bright 
grey eye. ' Was she stern and cold when she wept over 
your poems, those poems whose characters your own hand 
had traced ? Was she stern and cold when she hung a 
withered wreath on your bridal bed, the bed to which I owe 
my miserable being ? Oh, no, my father ! sad was the hour 
of separation for my mother and yourself. It may have 
dimmed the lustre of her eye, and shaded your locks with 
premature grey; but whatever may have been its inscrutable 
cause, there was one victim of that dark hour, less thought 
of than yourselves, and yet a greater sufferer than both, 
the being in whose heart you implanted affections, whose 
unfulfilled tenderness has made that wretched thing they 
call your daughter.' 

' Annabel ! ' exclaimed Herbert, rapidly advancing, with 



360 VENETIA. 

an imploring gesture, and speaking in a tone of infinite 
anguish, ' Annabel, Annabel, even now we can be happy ! ' 

The countenance of his wife was troubled, but its stem 
expression had disappeared. The long-concealed, yet at 
length irrepressible, emotion of Yenetia had touched her 
heart. In the conflict of affection between the claims of 
her two parents, Lady Annabel had observed with a senti- 
ment of sweet emotion, in spite of all the fearfulness of the 
meeting, that Venetia had not faltered in her devotion to 
her mother. The mental torture of her child touched her 
to the quick. In the excitement of her anguish, Venetia 
had expressed a profound sentiment, the irresistible truth 
of which Lady Annabel could no longer withstand. She 
had too long and too fondly schooled herself to look upon 
the outraged wife as the only victim. There was then, at 
length it appeared to this stern-minded woman, another. 
She had laboured in the flattering delusion that the devo- 
tion of a mother's love might compensate to Venetia for the 
loss of that other parent, which in some degree Lady Anna- 
bel had occasioned her ; for the worthless husband, had she 
chosen to tolerate the degrading connection, might never- 
theless have proved a tender father. But Nature, it seemed, 
had shrunk from the vain effort of the isolated mother. The 
seeds of affection for the father of her being were mystically 
implanted in the bosom of his child. Lady Annabel re- 
called the harrowing hours that this attempt by her to curb 
and control the natural course and rising sympathies of 
filial love had cost her child, on whom she had so vigilantly 
practised it. She recalled her strange aspirations, her in- 
spired curiosity, her brooding reveries, her fitful melan- 
choly, her terrible illness, her resignation, her fidelity, her 
sacrifices : there came across the mind of Lady Annabel a 
mortifying conviction that the devotion to her child, on 
which she had so rated herself, might after all only prove a 
subtle form of profound selfishness; and that Venetia, instead 
of being the idol of her love, might eventually be the martyr 
of her pride. And, thinking of these things, she wept. 



VENETIA. 3G1 

This evidence of emotion, which in such a spirit Herbert 
knew how to estimate, emboldened him to advance ; he fell 
on one knee before her and her daughter ; gently he stole 
her hand, and pressed it to his lips. It was not withdrawn, 
and Venetia laid her hand upon theirs, and would have 
bound them together had her mother been relentless. It 
seemed to Venetia that she was at length happy, but she 
would not speak, she would not disturb the still and silent 
bliss of the impending reconciliation. Was it then indeed 
at hand ? In truth, the deportment of Herbert throughout 
the whole interview, so delicate, so subdued, so studiously 
avoiding the slightest rivalry with his wife in the affections 
of their child, and so carefully abstaining from attempting 
in the slightest degree to control the feelings of Venetia, 
had not been lost upon Lady Annabel. And when she 
thought of him, so changed from what he had been, grey, 
bent, and careworn, Avith all the lustre that had once so 
fascinated her, faded, and talking of that impending fate 
which his wan though spiritual countenance too clearly 
intimated, her heart melted. 

Suddenly the door burst open, and there stalked into the 
room a woman of eminent but most graceful stature, and of 
a most sovereign and voluptuous beauty. She was habited 
in the Venetian dress ; her dark eyes glittered with fire, her 
cheek was inflamed with no amiable emotion, and her long 
black hair was disordered by the violence of her gesture. 

' And who are these ? ' she exclaimed in a shrill voice. 

All started ; Herbert sprang up from his position with a 
glance of withering rage. Venetia was perplexed, Lady An- 
nabel looked round, and recognised the identical face, how- 
ever distorted by passion, that she had admired in the 
portrait at Arqua. 

' And who are these ? ' exclaimed the intruder, advancing. 
' Perfidious Marmion ! to whom do you dare to kneel ? ' 

Lady Annabel drew herself up to a height that seemed to 
look down even upon this tall stranger. The expression of 
majestic scorn that she cast upon the intruder made her, in 



362 VENETIA. 

spite of all her violence and excitement, tremble and be 
silent : she felt cowed she knew not why. 

' Come, Venetia,' said Lady Annabel with all her usual 
composure, 'let me save my daughter at least from this 
profanation.' 

' Annabel ! ' said Herbert, rushing after them, ' be chari- 
table, be just ! ' He followed them to the threshold of the 
door ; Venetia was silent, for she was alarmed. 

' Adieu, Marmion ! ' said Lady Annabel, looking over her 
shoulder with a bitter smile, but placing her daughter be- 
fore her, as if to guard her. ' Adieu, Marmion ! adieu for 
ever ! ' 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE moon shone brightly on the house of Petrarch, and the 
hamlet slept in peace. N"ot a sound was heard, save the 
shrill voice of the grasshoppers, so incessant that its mono- 
tony blended, as it were, with the stillness. Over the green 
hills and the far expanse of the sheeny plain, the beautiful 
light of heaven fell with all the magical repose of the serene 
hour, an hour that brought to one troubled breast, and 
one distracted spirit, in that still and simple village, no 
quietude. 

Herbert came forth into the balcony of his residence, and 
leaning over the balustrade, revolved in his agitated mind 
the strange and stirring incidents of the day. His wife and 
his child had quitted the inn of Bovigo instantly after that 
mortifying rencounter that had dashed so cruelly to the 
ground all his sweet and quickly-rising hopes. As for his 
companion, she had by his peremptory desire returned to 
Arqua alone ; he was not in a mood to endure her society; 
but he had conducted himself to her mildly, though with 
firmness ; he had promised to follow her, and, in pursuance 
of his pledge, he rode home alone. 

He was greeted on his return by his servant, full of the 



VEKETIA. 363 

the visit of the morning. With an irresistible curiosity, 
Herbert had made him describe every incident that had 
occurred, and repeat a hundred times every word that the 
visitors had uttered. He listened with some consolation, 
however mournful, to his wife's praises of the unknown 
stranger's life ; he gazed with witching interest upon the 
autograph of his daughter on the wall of his library. He 
had not confessed to his mistress the relation which the two 
strangers bore to him ; yet he was influenced in concealing 
the real circumstances, only by an indefinite sentiment, that 
made him reluctant to acknowledge to her ties so pure. 
The feelings of the parent overpowered the principles of the 
philosopher. This lady indeed, although at the moment she 
had indulged in so violent an ebullition of temper, possessed 
little influence over the mind of her companion. Herbert, 
however fond of solitude, required in his restricted world 
the graceful results of feminine superintendence. Time had 
stilled his passions, and cooled the fervour of his soul. The 
age of his illusions had long passed. This was a connection 
that had commenced in no extravagant or romantic mood, 
and perhaps for that reason had endured. He had become 
acquainted with her on his first unknown arrival in Italy, 
from America, now nearly two years back. It had been 
maintained on his side by a temper naturally sweet, and 
which, exhausted by years of violent emotion, now required 
only repose ; seeking, in a female friend, a form that should 
not outrage an eye ever musing on the beautiful, and a dis- 
position that should contribute to his comfort, and never 
ruffle his feelings. Separated from his wife by her own act, 
whatever might have been its impulse, and for so long an 
interval, it was a connection which the world in general 
might have looked upon with charity, which in her calmer 
hours one would imagine even Lady Annabel might have 
glanced over without much bitterness. Certainly it was one 
which, under all the circumstances of the case, could scarcely 
be esteemed by her as an outrage or an insult ; but even 
Herbert felt, with all his philosophy and proud freedom from 



364 VENETIA. 

prejudice, that the rencounter of the morning was one which 
no woman could at the moment tolerate, few eventually 
excuse, and which of all incidents was that which would 
most tend to confirm his wife in her stoical obduracy. Of 
his offences towards her, whatever were their number or 
their quality, this surely was the least, and yet its results 
upon his life and fortunes would in all probability only be 
equalled by the mysterious cause of their original separation. 
But how much more bitter than that original separation 
was their present parting ! Mortifying and annoying as had 
been the original occurrence, it was one that many causes 
and considerations combined to enable Herbert to support. 
He was then in the very prime of youth, inexperienced, san- 
guine, restless, and adventurous, with the whole world and 
its unknown results before him, and freedom for which he 
ever sighed to compensate for the loss of that domestic joy 
that he was then unable to appreciate. But now twenty 
years, which, in the career of such a spirit, were equal to a 
century of the existence of coarser clay, had elapsed ; he was 
bowed with thought and suffering, if not by time ; his con- 
science was light, but it was sad ; his illusions had all 
vanished ; he knew the world, and all that the world could 
bring, and he disregarded them ; and the result of all his 
profound study, lofty aspirations, and great conduct was, 
that he sighed for rest. The original catastrophe had been 
merely a separation between a husband and a wife ; the one 
that had just happened, involved other feelings ; the father 
was also separated from his child, and a child of such sur- 
passing qualities, that his brief acquaintance with her had 
alone sufficed to convert his dream of domestic repose into 
a vision of domestic bliss. 

Beautiful Venetia ! so fair, and yet so dutiful ; with a 
bosom teeming with such exquisite sensibilities, and a mind 
bright with such acute and elevated intelligence ! An ab- 
stract conception of the sentiments that might subsist be- 
tween a father and a daughter, heightened by all the devices 
of a glowing imagination, had haunted indeed occasionally 



VENETIA. 365 

the solitary musing of Marmion Herbert ; but what was 
this creation of his poetic brain compared with the reality 
that now had touched his hmnan heart ? Vainly had he 
believed that repose was the only solace that remained for 
his exhausted spirit. He found that a new passion now 
swayed his soul ; a passion, too, that he had never proved ; 
of a nature most peculiar ; pure, gentle, refined, yet ravish- 
ing and irresistible, compared with which all former trans- 
ports, no matter how violent, tumultuous, and exciting, 
seemed evanescent and superficial : they were indeed the 
wind, the fire, and the tempest that had gone before, but 
this was the still small voice that followed, excelled, and 
survived their might and majesty, unearthly and eternal ! 

His heart melted to his daughter, nor did he care to live 
without her love and presence. His philosophical theories 
all vanished. He felt how dependent we are in this world 
on our natural ties, and how limited, with all his arrogance, 
is the sphere of man. Dreaming of philanthropy, he had 
broken his wife's heart, and bruised, perhaps irreparably, 
the spirit of his child ; he had rendered those miserable who 
depended on his love, and for whose affection his heart now 
yearned to that degree, that he could not contemplate exist- 
ence without their active sympathy. 

"Was it then too late ! Was it then impossible to regain 
that Paradise he had forfeited so weakly, and of whose 
amaranthine bowers, but a few hours since, he had caught 
such an entrancing glimpse, of which the gate for a moment 
seemed about to re-open ! In spite of all, then, Annabel 
still loved him, loved him passionately, visited his picture, 
mused over the glowing expression of their loves, wept over 
the bridal bed so soon deserted ! She had a dog, too, when 
Venetia was a child, and called it Marmion. 

The recollection of this little trait, so trifling, yet so 
touching, made him weep even with wildness. The tears 
poured down his cheeks in torrents, he sobbed convulsively, 
his very heart seemed to burst. For some minutes he leant 
over the balustrade in a paroxysm of grief. 



366 VENETIA. 

He looked up. The convent lull rose before him, bright 
in the moon ; beneath was his garden ; around him the 
humble roofs that he made happy. It was not without an 
effort that he recalled the locality, that he remembered he 
was at Arqua. And who was sleeping within the house ? 
Not his wife, Annabel was far away with their daughter. 
The vision of his whole life passed before him. Study and 
strife, and fame and love ; the pride of the philosopher, the 
rapture of the poet, the blaze of eloquence, the clash of arms, 
the vows of passion, the execration and the applause of 
millions ; both once alike welcome to his indomitable soul ! 
And what had they borne to hina ? Misery. He called up 
the image of his wife, young, beautiful, and noble, with a 
mind capable of comprehending his loftiest and his finest 
moods, with a soul of matchless purity, and a temper whose 
winning tenderness had only been equalled by her elevated 
sense of self-respect ; a woman that might have figured in 
the days of chivalry, soft enough to be his slave, but too 
proud to be his victim. He called up her image in the 
castle of his fathers, exercising in a domain worthy of such 
a mistress, all those sweet offices of Life which here, in this 
hired roof in a strange land, and with his crippled means, 
he had yet found solacing. He conjured before him a bud 
by the side of that beauteous flower, sharing all her lustre 
and all her fragrance, his own Venetia ! What happiness 
might not have been his ? And for what had he forfeited 
it ? A dream, with no dream- like beauty ; a perturbed, and 
restless, and agitated dream, from which he had now woke 
shattered and exhausted. 

He had sacrificed his fortune, he had forfeited his country, 
he had alienated his wife, and he had lost his child ; the 
home of his heroic ancestry, the ancient land whose fame 
and power they had created, the beauteous and gifted woman 
who would have clung for ever to his bosom, and her trans- 
cendant offspring worthy of all their loves ! Profound 
philosopher ! 

The clock of the convent struck the second hour after 



VENETIA. 367 

midnight. Herbert started. And all this time where were 
Annabel and Venetia ? They still lived, they were in the 
same country, an hour ago they were under the same roof, 
in the same chamber ; their hands had joined, their hearts 
had opened, for a moment he had dared to believe that all 
that he cared for might be regained. And why was it not ? 
The cause, the cause ? It recurred to him with associations 
of dislike, of disgust, of wrath, of hatred, of which one 
whose heart was so tender, and whose reason was so clear, 
could under the influence of no other feelings have been 
capable. The surrounding scene, that had so often soothed 
his mournful soul, and connected it with the last hours of 
a spirit to whom he bore much resemblance, was now looked 
upon with aversion. To rid himself of ties, now so dread- 
ful, was all his ambition. He entered the house quickly, 
and, seating himself in his closet, he wrote these words : 

' You beheld this morning my wife and child ; we can -meet 
no more. All that I can effect to console you under this 
sudden separation shall be done. My banker from Bologna 
will be here in two days ; express to him all your wishes.' 

It was written, sealed, directed, and left upon the table 
at which they had so often been seated. Herbert descended 
into the garden, saddled his horse, and in a few minutes, in 
the heart of night, had quitted Arqua. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE moment that the wife of Marmion Herbert re-entered 
her saloon, she sent for her courier and ordered horses to 
her carriage instantly. Until they were announced as 
ready, Lady Annabel walked up and down the room with 
an impatient step, but was as completely silent as the 
miserable Venetia, who remained weeping on the sofa. 
The confusion and curiosity of Mistress Pauncefort were 
extraordinary. She still had a lurking suspicion that the 
gentleman was Lord Cadurcis, and she seized the first 



368 VENETIA. 

opportunity of leaving the room, and flouncing into that 
of the stranger, as if by mistake, determined to catch a 
glimpse of him ; but all her notable skill was baffled, for 
she had scarcely opened the door before she was met by 
the Italian lady, who received Mistress Pauncefort's ready- 
made apology, and bowed her away. The faithful attendant 
then hurried downstairs to crossexamine the waiter, but, 
though she gained considerable information from that func- 
tionary, it was of a perplexing nature ; for from him she 
only learnt that the stranger lived at Arqua. ' The German 
gentleman ! ' soliloquised Mistress Pauncefort ; ' and what 
could he have to say to Miss Venetia ! and a married man, 
too ! Well, to be sure, there is nothing like travelling for 
adventures ! And I must say, considering all that I know, 
and how I have held my tongue for nearly twenty years, I 
think it is very strange indeed of my lady to have any 
secrets from me. Secrets, indeed ! Poh ! ' and Mistress 
Pauncefort flounced again into Lady Annabel's room, with 
a face of offended pride, knocking the books about, dashing 
down writing cases, tossing about work, and making as 
much noise and disturbance as if she had a separate quarrel 
with every single article under her superintendence. 

In the meantime the carriage was prepared, to which 
they were obliged almost to carry Venetia, feeble and 
stupefied with grief. Uncertain of her course, but anxious, 
in the present state of her daughter, for rest and quiet, 
Lady Annabel ordered the courier to proceed to Padua, at 
which city they arrived late at night, scarcely a word 
having been interchanged during the whole journey be- 
tween Lady Annabel and her child, though infinite were 
the soft and soothing attentions which the mother lavished 
upon her. Night, however, brought no rest to Venetia ; 
and the next day, her state appeared so alarming to Lady 
Annabel, that she would have instantly summoned medical 
assistance, had it not been for Venetia's strong objections. 
' Indeed, dear mother,' she said, ' it is not physicians that I 
require. They cannot cure me. Let me be quiet.' 



VENETIA. 369 

The same cause, indeed, which, during the last fire years 
had at intervals so seriously menaced the existence of this 
unhappy girl, was now at work with renovated and even 
irresistible influence. Her frame could no longer endure 
the fatal action of her over-excited nerves. Her first illness, 
however alarming, had been baffled by time, skill, and prin- 
cipally by the vigour of an extremely youthful frame, then 
a stranger to any serious indisposition. At a later period, 
the change of life induced by their residence at Weymouth 
had permitted her again to rally. She had quitted England 
with renewed symptoms of her former attack, but a still 
more powerful change, not only of scene, but of climate and 
country, and the regular and peaceful life she had led on 
the Lago Maggiore, had again reassured the mind of her 
anxious mother. This last adventure at Rovigo, however, 
prostrated her. The strange surprise, the violent develop- 
ment of feeling, the agonising doubts and hopes, the terrible 
suspense, the profound and bitter and overwhelming dis- 
appointment, all combined to shake her mind to its very 
foundations. She felt for the first time, that she could no 
longer bear up against the torture of her singular position. 
Her energy was entirely exhausted ; she was no longer 
capable of making the slightest exertion ; she took refuge 
in that torpid resignation that results from utter hopeless- 
ness. 

Lying on her sofa with her eyes fixed in listless abstrac- 
tion, the scene at Bovigo flitted unceasingly before her 
languid vision. At length she had seen that father, that 
unknown and mysterious father, whose idea had haunted 
her infancy as if by inspiration ; to gain the slightest know- 
ledge of whom had cost her such long and acute suffering ; 
and round whose image for so many years every thought of 
her intelligence, and every feeling of her heart, had clus- 
tered like spirits round some dim and mystical altar. At 
length she had beheld him ; she had gazed on that spiritual 
countenance ; she had listened to the tender accents of that 
musical voice ; within his arms she had been folded with 

B B 



370 VENETIA. 

rapture, and pressed to a heart that seemed to beat only for 
her felicity. The blessing of her father, uttered by his 
long-loved lips, had descended on her brow, and been sealed 
with his passionate embrace. 

The entrance of her mother, that terrible contest of her 
lacerated heart, when her two parents, as it were, appealed 
to her love, which they would not share ; the inspiration of 
her despair, that so suddenly had removed the barriers of 
long years, before whose irresistible pathos her father had 
bent a penitent, and her mother's inexorable pride had 
melted ; the ravishing bliss that for a moment had thrilled 
through her, being experienced too for the first time, when 
she felt that her parents were again united and bound by 
the sweet tie of her now happy existence ; this was the 
drama acted before her with an almost ceaseless repetition 
of its transporting incidents ; and when she looked round, 
and beheld her mother sitting alone, and watching her with 
a countenance almost of anguish, it was indeed with extreme 
difficulty that Venetia could persuade herself that all had 
not been a reverie ; and she was only convinced of the con- 
trary by that heaviness of the heart which too quickly 
assures us of the reality of those sorrows of which fancy for- 
a moment may cheat us into scepticism. 

And indeed her mother was scarcely less miserable. The 
sight of Herbert, so changed from the form that she remem- 
bered ; those tones of heart-rending sincerity, in which he 
had mournfully appealed to the influence of time and sorrow 
on his life, still greatly affected her. She had indulged for 
a moment in a dream of domestic love, she had cast to the 
winds the inexorable determination of a life, and had mingled 
her tears with those of her husband and her child. And 
how had she been repaid? By a degrading catastrophe, 
from whose revolting associations her mind recoiled with 
indignation and disgust. But her lingering feeling for her 
husband, her own mortification, were as nothing compared 
with the harrowing anxiety she now entertained for her 
daughter. To converse with Venetia on the recent occur- 



VENETIA. 371 

rence was impossible. It was a subject which admitted of 
no discussion. They had passed a week at Padua, and the 
slightest allusion to what had happened had never been 
ma 1 de by either Lady Annabel or her child. It was only by 
her lavish, testimonies of affection that Lady Annabel con- 
veyed to Venetia how deeply she sympathised with, her, 
and how unhappy she was herself. She had, indeed, never 
quitted for a moment the side of her daughter, and witnessed 
each, day, with renewed anguish, her deplorable condition ; 
for Venetia continued in a state which, to those unacquainted 
with her, might have been mistaken for insensibility, but 
her mother knew too well that it was despair. She never 
moved, she never sighed, nor wept ; she took no notice of 
anything that occurred ; she sought relief in no resources. 
Books, and drawings, and music, were quite forgotten by 
her ; nothing amused, and nothing annoyed her ; she was 
not even fretful ; she had, apparently, no physical ailment ; 
she remained pale and silent, plunged in an absorbing 
paroxysm of overwhelming woe. 

The unhappy Lady Annabel, at a loss how to act, at 
length thought it might be advisable to cross over to 
Venice. She felt assured now, that it would be a long 
time, if ever, before her child could again endure the 
fatigue of travel ; and she thought that for every reason, 
whether for domestic comfort or medical advice, or those 
multifarious considerations which interest the invalid, a 
capital was by far the most desirable residence for them. 
There was a time when a visit to the city that had given 
her a name had been a favourite dream of Venetia ; she had 
often sighed to be within 

The sea-born city's walls ; the graceful towers 
Loved by the bard. 

Those lines of her father had long echoed in her ear ; but 

now the proposition called no light to her glazed eye, nor 

summoned for an instant the colour back to her cheek. She 

listened to her mother's suggestion, and expressed her 

B B 2 



372 VENETIA. 

willingness to do whatever she desired. Venice to her 
was now only a name ; for, without the presence and the 
united love of both her parents, no spot on earth could in- 
terest, and no combinatipn of circumstances affect her. To 
Venice, however, they departed, having previously taken 
care that every arrangement should be made for their re- 
ception. The English ambassador at the Ducal court was 
a relative of Lady Annabel, and therefore no means or 
exertions were spared to study and secure the convenience 
and accommodation of the invalid. The barge of the am- 
bassador met them at Fusina ; and when Venetia beheld the 
towers and cupolas of Venice, suffused with a golden light 
and rising out of the bright blue waters, for a moment her 
spirit seemed to lighten. It is indeed a spectacle as beau- 
tiful as rare, and one to which the world offers few, if any, 
rivals. Gliding over the great Lagune, the buildings, with 
which the pictures at Cherbury had already made her fami- 
liar, gradually rose up before her ; the mosque-like Church 
of St. Marc, the tall Campanile red in the sun, the Moresco 
Palace of the Doges, the deadly Bridge of Sighs, and the 
dark structure to which it leads. 

Venice had not then fallen. The gorgeous standards of 
the sovereign republic, and its tributary kingdoms, still 
waved in the Place of St. Marc ; the Bucentaur was not 
rotting in the Arsenal, and the warlike galleys of the state 
cruised without the Lagune ; a busy and picturesque popu- 
lation swarmed in all directions ; and the Venetian noble, 
the haughtiest of men, might still be seen proudly moving 
from the council of state, or stepping into a gondola amid a 
bowing crowd. All was stirring life, yet all was silent ; 
the fantastic architecture, the glowing sky, the flitting 
gondolas, and the brilliant crowd gliding about with noise- 
less step, this city without sound, it seemed a dream ! 



VENETIA. 373 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE ambassador had engaged for Lady Annabel a palace 
011 the Grand Canal, belonging to Count Manfrini. It was 
a structure of great size and magnificence, and rose out of 
the water with a flight of marble steps. Within was a vast 
gallery, lined with statues and busts on tall pedestals ; 
suites of spacious apartments, with marble floors and hung 
with satin ; ceilings painted by Tintoretto and full of Turk- 
ish trophies ; furniture alike sumptuous and massy; the 
gilding, although of two hundred years' duration, as bright 
and burnished as if it had but yesterday been touched with 
the brush ; sequin gold, as the Venetians tell you to this day 
with pride. But even their old furniture will soon not be 
left to them, as palaces are now daily broken up like old 
ships, and their colossal spoils consigned to Hanway Yard 
and Bond Street, whence, re-burnished and vamped up, 
their Titautic proportions in time appropriately figure in 
the boudoirs of May Fair and the miniature saloons of St. 
James'. Many a fine lady now sits in a doge's chair, and 
many a dandy listens to his doom from a couch that has 
already witnessed the less inexorable decrees of the Council 
of Ten. 

Amid all this splendour, however, one mournful idea 
alone pervaded the tortured consciousness of Lady Annabel 
Herbert. Daily the dark truth stole upon her with in- 
creased conviction, that Venetia had come hither only to 
die. There seemed to the agitated ear of this distracted 
mother a terrible omen even in the very name of her child ; 
and she could not resist the persuasion that her final destiny 
would, in some degree, be connected with her fanciful ap- 
pellation. The physicians, for hopeless as Lady Annabel 
could not resist esteeming their interference, Venetia was 
now surrounded with physicians, shook their heads, pre- 
scribed different remedies and gave contrary opinions ; each 
day, however, their patient became more languid, thinner 



374 VENETIA. 

and more thin, -until she seemed like a beautiful spirit 
gliding into the saloon, leaning on her mother's arm, and 
followed by Pauncefbrt, who had now learnt the fatal secret 
from her mistress, and whose heart was indeed almost 
broken at the prospect of the calamity that was impending 
over them. 

At Padua, Lady Annabel, in her mortified reveries, out- 
raged as she conceived by her husband, and anxious about 
her daughter, had schooled herself into visiting her fresh 
calamities on the head of the unhappy Herbert, to whose 
intrusion and irresistible influence she ascribed all the illness 
of her child; but, as the indisposition ofVenetia gradually, 
but surely, increased, until at length it assumed so alarming 
au aspect that Lady Annabel, in the distraction of her mind, 
could no longer refrain from contemplating the most fatal 
result, she had taught herself bitterly to regret the failure 
of that approaching reconciliation which now she could not 
but believe would, at least, have secured her the life of 
Venetia. Whatever might be the risk of again uniting 
herself with her husband, whatever might be the mortifica- 
tion and misery which it might ultimately, or even speedily, 
entail upon her, there was no unhappiness that she could 
herself experience, which for one moment she could put in 
competition with the existence of her child. When that 
was the question, every feeling that had hitherto impelled 
her conduct assumed a totally different complexion. That 
conduct, in her view, had been a systematic sacrifice of self 
to secure the happiness of her daughter ; and the result of 
all her exertions was, that not only her happiness was de- 
stroyed, but her life was fast vanishing away. To save 
Venetia, it now appeared to Lady Annabel that there was 
no extremity which she would not endure ; and if it came 
to a question, whether Venetia should survive, or whether 
she should even be separated from her mother, her maternal 
heart now assured her that she would not for an instant 
hesitate in preferring an eternal separation to the death of 
her child. Her terror now worked to such a degree upon 



VENETIA. 375 

her character, that she even, at times, half resolved to speak 
to Venetia upon the subject, and contrive some method 
of communicating her wishes to her father ; but pride, the 
habitual repugnance of so many years to converse upon the 
topic, mingled also, as should be confessed, with an indefi- 
nite apprehension of the ill consequences of a conversation 
of such a character on the nervous temperament of her 
daughter, restrained her. 

' My love ! ' said Lady Annabel, one day to her daughter, 
* do you think you could go out ? The physicians think it 
of great importance that you should attempt to exert your- 
self, however slightly.' 

' Dear mother, if anything could annoy me from your 
lips, it would be to hear you quote these physicians,' said 
Venetia. ' Their daily presence and inquiries irritate me. 
Let me be at peace. I wish to see no one but you.' 

' But Venetia,' said Lady Annabel, in a voice of great 

emotion, ' Venetia ,' and here she paused; ' think of my 

anxiety.' 

' Dear mother, it would be ungrateful for me ever to for- 
get that. But you, and you alone, know that my state, 
whatever it may be, and to whatever it may be I am recon- 
ciled, is not produced by causes over which these physicians 

have any control, over which no one has control now,' 

added Venetia, in a tone of great mournfulness. 

For here we must remark that so inexperienced was 
Venetia in the feelings of others, and so completely did she 
judge of the strength and purity of their emotions from 
her own, that reflection, since the terrible adventure of 
Bvovigo, had only convinced her that it was no longer in 
her mother's power to unite herself again with her other 
parent. She had taught herself to look upon her father's 
burst of feeling towards Lady Annabel as the momentary 
and inevitable result of a meeting so unexpected and over- 
powering, but she did not doubt that the stranger whose 
presence had ultimately so fatally clouded that interview 
of promise, possessed claims upon Marmion Herbert which 



376 VENETIA. 

he would neither break, nor, upon reflection, be desirous to 
question. It was then the conviction that a reconciliation 
between her parents was now impossible, in which her 
despair originated, and she pictured to herself her father 
once more at Arqua disturbed, perhaps, for a day or two, 
as he natm-ally must be, by an interview so sudden and so 
harassing ; shedding a tear, perhaps, in secret to the wife 
whom he had injured, and the child whom he had scarcely 
seen ; but relapsing, alike from the force of habit and in- 
clination, into those previous and confirmed feelings, under 
whose influence, she was herself a witness, his life had been 
so serene, and even so laudable. She was confirmed in 
these opinions by the circumstance of their never having 
heard since from him. Placed in his situation, if indeed 
an irresistible influence were not controlling him, would he 
have hesitated for a moment to have prevented even their 
departure, or to have pursued them ; to have sought at 
any rate some means of communicating with them ? He 
was plainly reconciled to his present position, and felt that 
under these circumstances silence on his part was alike 
kindest and most discreet. Venetia had ceased, therefore, 
to question the justice or the expediency, or even the 
abstract propriety, of her mother's conduct. She viewed 
their condition now as the result of stern necessity. She 
pitied her mother, and for herself she had no hope. 

There was then much meaning in that little monosyllable 
with which Yenetia concluded her reply to her mother. 
She had no hope ' now.' Lady Annabel, however, ascribed 
it to a very different meaning ; she only believed that her 
daughter was of opinion that nothing would induce her 
now to listen to the overtures of her father. Prepared for 
any sacrifice of self, Lady Annabel replied, ' But there is 
hope, Venetia ; when your life is in question, there is 
nothing that should not be done.' 

'Nothing can be done,' said Venetia, who, of course, 
could not dream of what was passing in her mother's mind. 

Lady Annabel rose from her seat and walked to the 



VENETIA. 377 

window; apparently her eye watched only the passing 
gondolas, but indeed she saw them not ; she saw only her 
child stretched perhaps on the couch of death. 

'We quitted, perhaps, Rovigo too hastily,' said Lady 
Annabel, in a choking voice, and with a face of scarlet. It 
was a terrible struggle, but the words were uttered. 

' No, mother,' said Venetia, to Lady Annabel's inexpres- 
sible surprise, ' we did right to go.' 

' Even my child, even Venetia, with all her devotion to 
him, feels the absolute necessity of my conduct,' thought 
Lady Annabel. Her pride returned ; she felt the impossi- 
bility of making an overture to Herbert ; she looked upon 
their daughter as the last victim of his fatal career. 



CHAPTER IX. 

How beautiful is night in Venice ! Then music and the 
moon reign supreme ; the glittering sky reflected in the 
waters, and every gondola gliding with sweet sounds! 
Around on every side are palaces and temples, rising from 
the waves which they shadow with their solemn forms, 
their costly fronts rich with the spoils of kingdoms, and 
softened with the magic of the midnight beam. The whole 
city too is poured forth for festival. The people lounge on 
the quays and cluster on the bridges ; the light barks skim 
along in crowds, just touching the surface of. the water, 
while their bright prows of polished iron gleam in the 
moonshine, and glitter in the rippling wave. Not a sound 
that is not graceful: the tinkle of guitars, the sighs of sere- 
naders, and the responsive chorus of gondoliers. Now and 
then a laugh, light, joyous, and yet musical, bursts forth 
from, some illuminated coffee-house, before which a buffo 
disports, a tumbler stands on his head, or a juggler mysti- 
fies ; and all for a sequin ! 

The Place of St. Marc, at the period of our story, still 
presented the most brilliant spectacle of the kind in Europe. 



378 VENETIA. 

Not a spot was more distinguished for elegance, luxury, and 
enjoyment. It was indeed the inner shrine of the temple 
of pleasure, and very strange and amusing would be the 
annals of its picturesque arcades. We must not, however, 
step behind their blue awnings, but content ourselves with 
the exterior scene ; and certainly the Place of St. Marc, 
with the variegated splendour of its Christian mosque, the 
ornate architecture of its buildings, its diversified popula- 
tion, a tribute from every shore of the midland sea, and 
where the noble Venetian, in his robe of crimson silk, and 
long white peruque, might be jostled by the Sclavonian 
with his target, and the Albanian in his kilt, while the 
Turk, sitting cross-legged on his Persian carpet, smoked 
his long chibouque with serene gravity, and the mild 
Armenian glided by him with a low reverence, presented 
an aspect under a Venetian moon such as we shall not 
easily find again in Christendom, and, in spite of the dying 
glory and the neighbouring vice, was pervaded with an air 
of romance and refinement, compared with which the glit- 
tering dissipation of Paris, even in its liveliest and most 
graceful hours, assumes a character alike coarse and com- 
monplace. 

It is the hour of love and of faro ; now is the hour to press 
your suit and to break a bank ; to glide from the apartment 
of rapture into the chamber of chance. Thus a noble Vene- 
tian contrived to pass the night, in alternations of excite- 
ment that in general left him sufficiently serious for the 
morrow's council. For more vulgar tastes there was the 
minstrel, the conjuror, and the story-teller, goblets of Cyprus 
wine, flasks of sherbet, and confectionery that dazzled like 
diamonds. And for every one, from the grave senator to the 
gay gondolier, there was an atmosphere in itself a spell, and 
which, after all, has more to do with human happiness than 
all the accidents of fortune and all the arts of government. 

Amid this gay and brilliant multitude, one human being 
stood alone. Muffled in his cloak, and leaning against a 
column in the portico of St. Marc, an expression of oppres- 



VENETIA. 379 

sive care and affliction was imprinted on Ms countenance, 
and ill accorded with the light and festive scene. Had he 
been crossed in love, or had he lost at play ? Was it woman 
or gold to which his anxiety and sorrow were attributable, 
for under one or other of these categories, undoubtedly, 
all the miseries of man may range. Want of love, or want 
of money, lies at the bottom of all our griefs. 

The stranger came forward, and leaving the joyous throng, 
turned down the Piazzetta, and approached the quay of the 
Lagune. A gondolier saluted him, and he entered his boat. 

' Whither, signer ? ' said the gondolier. 

' To the Grand Canal,' he replied. 

Over the moonlit wave the gondola swiftly skimmed ! 
The scene was a marvellous contrast to the one which the 
stranger had just quitted ; but it brought no serenity to his 
care-worn countenance, though his eye for a moment kindled 
as he looked upon the moon, that was sailing in the cloud- 
less heaven with a single star by her side. 

They had soon entered the Grand Canal, and the gondolier 
looked to his employer for instructions. ' Row opposite to the 
Manfrini palace,' said the stranger, ' and rest upon your oar.' 

The blinds of the great window of the palace were with- 
drawn. Distinctly might be recognised a female figure 
bending over the recumbent form of a girl. An hour passed 
away and still the gondola was motionless, and still the 
silent stranger gazed on the inmates of the palace. A 
servant now came forward and closed the curtain of the 
chamber. The stranger sighed, and waving his hand to the 
gondolier, bade him return to the Lagune. -,; 



CHAPTER X. 

IT is curious to recall our feelings at a moment when a great 
event is impending over us, and we are utterly unconscious 
of its probable occurrence. How often does it happen that 
a subject which almost unceasingly engages our mind, is 



380 VENETIA. 

least thought of at the very instant that the agitating sus- 
pense involved in its consideration is perhaps about to be 
terminated for ever ! The very morning after the mysterious 
gondola had rested so long before the Manfriui Palace, 
Venetia rose for the first time since the flight from Rovigo, 
refreshed by her slumbers, and tranquil in her spirit. It 
was not in her power to recall her dreams ; but they had 
left a vague and yet serene impression. There seemed a 
lightness in her heart, that long had been unusual with her, 
and she greeted her mother with a smile, faint indeed, yet 
natural. 

Perhaps this beneficial change, slight but still delightful, 
might be attributed to the softness and the splendour of the 
morn. Before the approach of winter, it seemed that the 
sun was resolved to remind the Venetians that they were his 
children ; and that, although his rays might be soon clouded 
for a season, they were not to believe that their parent had 
deserted them. The sea was like glass, a golden haze suf- 
fused the horizon, and a breeze, not strong enough to disturb 
the waters, was wafted at intervals from the gardens of the 
Brenta, fitful and sweet. 

Venetia had yielded to the suggestion of her mother, and 
had agreed for the first time to leave the palace. They 
stepped into their gondola, and were wafted to an island in 
the Lagune where there was a convent, and, what in Venice 
was more rare and more delightful, a garden. Its scanty 
shrubberies sparkled in the sun ; and a cypress flanked by a 
pine-tree offered to the eye unused to trees a novel and 
picturesque group. Beneath its shade they rested, watching 
on one side the distant city, and on the other the still and 
gleaming waters of the Adriatic. While they were thus 
sitting, renovated by the soft air and pleasant spectacle, a 
holy father, with a beard like a meteor, appeared and ad- 
dressed them. 

' Welcome to St. Lazaro ! ' said the holy father, speaking 
in English ; ' and may the peace that reigns within its walls 
fill also your breasts ! ' 



VENETIA. 381 

' Indeed, holy father,' said Lady Annabel to the Armenian 
monk, 'I have long heard of your virtues and your happy life.' 

' You know that Paradise was placed in our country,' said 
the monk with a smile. 'We have all lost Paradise, but the 
Armenian has lost his country too. Nevertheless, with God's 
blessing, on this islet we have found an Eden, pure at least 
and tranquil.' 

Tor the pious, Paradise exists everywhere,' said Lady 
Annabel. 

'You have been in England, holy father ?' said Venetia. 

' It has not been my good fortune,' replied the monk. 

' Yet you speak our tongue with a facility and accent that 
surprise me.' 

' I learnt it in America where I long resided,' rejoined 
the Armenian. 

' This is for your eye, lady,' continued the monk, drawing 
a letter from his bosom. 

Lady Annabel felt not a little surprised ; but the idea im- 
mediately occurred to her that it was some conventual me- 
morial appealing to her charity. She took the paper from 
the monk, who immediately moved away ; but what was the 
agitation of Lady Annabel when she recognised the hand- 
writing of her husband ! Her first thought was to save 
Venetia from sharing that agitation. She rose quickly ; 
she commanded herself sufficiently to advise her daughter, 
in a calm tone, to remain seated, while for a moment she 
refreshed herself by a stroll. She had not quitted Venetia 
many paces, when she broke the seal and read these lines : 

' Tremble not, Annabel, when you recognise this hand- 
writing. It is that of one whose only aspiration is to con- 
tribute to your happiness ; and although the fulfilment of 
that fond desire may be denied him, it never shall be said, 
even by you, that any conduct of his should now occasion 
you annoyance. I am in Venice at the peril of my life, 
which I only mention because the difficulties inseparable 
from my position are the principal cause that you did not 
receive this communication immediately after our strange 



382 VENETIA. 

meeting. I have gazed at night upon your palace, and 
watched the forms of my wife and our child ; bnt one word 
from yon, and I quit Venice for ever, and it shall not be 
my fault if yon are ever again disturbed by the memory of 
the miserable Herbert. 

' But before I go, I will make this one appeal if not to 
your justice, at least to your mercy. After the fatal separa- 
tion of a life, we have once more met : you have looked 
upon me not with hatred ; my hand has once more pressed 
yours ; for a moment I indulged the impossible hope, that 
this weary and exhausted spirit might at length be blessed. 
With agony I allude to the incident that dispelled the rap- 
ture of this vision. Sufficient for me most solemnly to 
assure you that four-and-twenty hours had not elapsed 
without that feeble and unhallowed tie being severed for 
ever ! It vanished instantaneously before the presence of 
my wife and my child. However you decide, it can never 
again subsist : its utter and eternal dissolution was the in- 
evitable homage to your purity. 

' Whatever may have been my errors, whatever my 
crimes, for I will not attempt to justify to you a single cir- 
cumstance of my life, I humble myself in the dust before 
you, and solicit only mercy ; yet whatever may have been 
my career, ah ! Annabel, in the infinite softness of your 
soul was it not for a moment pardoned ? Am I indeed to suf- 
fer for that last lamentable intrusion ? You are a woman, 
Annabel, with a brain as clear as your heart is pure. 
Judge me with calmness, Annabel ; were there no circum- 
stances in my situation to extenuate that deplorable connec- 
tion ? I will not urge them ; I will not even intimate them ; 
but surely, Annabel, when I kneel before you full of deep 
repentance and long remorse, if you could pardon the past, 
it is not that incident, however mortifying to you, however 
disgraceful to myself, that should be an impassable barrier 
to all my hopes ! 

' Once you loved me ; I ask you not to love me now. 
There is nothing about me now that can touch the heart of 



VENETIA. 383 

woman. I am old before my time ; bent with the blended 
influence of action and of thought, and of physical and 
moral suffering. The play of my spirit has gone for ever. 
My passions have expired like my hopes. The remaining 
sands of my life are few. Once it was otherwise: you can 
recall a different picture of the Marmion on whom you 
smiled, and of whom you were the first love. Annabel ! 
grey, feeble, exhausted, penitent, let me stagger over your 
threshold, and die ! I ask no more ; I will not hope for your 
affection ; I will not even count upon your pity ; but endure 
my presence ; let your roof screen my last days ! ' 

It was read ; it was read again, dim as was the sight of 
Lady Annabel with fast-flowing tears. Still holding the 
letter, but with hands fallen, she gazed upon the shining 
waters before her in a fit of abstraction. It was the voice 
of her child that roused her. 

' Mother,' said Venetia in a tone of some decision, ' you 
are troubled, and we have only one cause of trouble. That 
letter is from my father.' 

Lady Annabel gave her the letter in silence. 

Venetia withdrew almost unconsciously a few paces from 
her mother. She felt this to be the crisis of her life. There 
never was a moment which she believed required more 
fully the presence of all her energies. Before she had ad- 
dressed Lady Annabel, she had endeavoured to steel her 
mind to great exertion. Yet now that she held the letter, 
she could not command herself sufficiently to read it. Her 
breath deserted her ; her hand lost its power ; she could 
not even open the lines on which perhaps her life depended. 
Suddenly, with a rapid effort, she glanced at the contents. 
The blood returned to her cheek ; her eye became bright 
with excitement ; she gasped for breath ; she advanced to 
Lady Annabel. 'Ah! mother,' she exclaimed, 'you will 
grant all that it desires !' 

Still gazing on the wave that laved the shore of the island 
with an almost inperceptible ripple, Lady Annabel continued 
silent. 



384 VENETIA. 

' Mother,' said Venetia, ' my beloved mother, you hesi- 
tate.' She approached Lady Annabel, and with one arm 
round her neck, she grasped with the other her mother's 
hand. ' I implore you, by all that affection which you 
lavish on me, yield to this supplication. O mother ! dearest 
mother ! it has been my hope that my life has been at least 
a life of duty ; I have laboured to yield to all your wishes. 
I have struggled to make their fulfilment the law of my 
being. Tes ! mother, your memory will assure you, that 
when the sweetest emotions of my heart were the stake, you 
appealed to me to sacrifice them, and they were dedicated 
to your will. Have I ever murmured ? I have sought only 
to repay your love by obedience. Speak to me, dearest 
mother ! I implore you speak to me ! Tell me, can you 
ever repent relenting in this instance ? mother ! you 
will not hesitate ; you will not indeed ; you will bring joy 
and content to our long-harassed hearth ! Tell me so ; I 
beseech you tell me so ! I wish, oh ! how I wish, that you 
would comply from the mere impulse of your own heart ! 
But, grant that it is a sacrifice ; grant that it may be un- 
wise ; that it may be vain ; I supplicate you to make it ! I, 
your child, who never deserted you, who will never desert 
you, pledging my faith to you in the face of heaven ; for my 
sake, I supplicate you to make it. You do not hesitate ; you 
cannot hesitate ; mother, you cannot hesitate. Ah ! you 
would not if you knew all ; if you knew all the misery of 
my life, you would be glad ; you would be cheerful ; you 
would look upon this as an interposition of Providence in 
favour of yonr Venetia ; you would, indeed, dear mother ! ' 

' What evil fortune guided our steps to Italy ? ' said Lady 
Annabel in a solemn tone, and as if in soliloquy. 

' No, no, mother ; not evil fortune ; fortune the best and 
brightest,' exclaimed her daughter. ' "We came here to be 
happy, and happiness we have at length gained. It is in 
our grasp ; I feel it. It was not fortune, dear mother! it was 
fate, it was Providence, it was God. You have been faith- 
ful to Him, and He has brought back to you my father, 



VENETIA. 385 

chastened and repentant. God lias turned his heart to all 
your virtues. Will you desert him ? No, no, mother, you 
will not, you cannot ; for his sake, for your own sake, and 
for your child's, you will not ! ' 

' For twenty years I have acted from an imperious sense 
of duty,' said Lady Annabel, ' and for your sake, Venetia, 
as much as for my own. Shall the feelings of a mo- 
ment ' 

' O mother ! dearest mother ! say not these words. With 
me, at least, it has not been the feeling of a moment. It 
haunted my infancy; it harassed me while a girl; it has 
brought me in the prime of womanhood to the brink of the 
grave. And with you, mother, has it been the feeling of a 
moment ? Ah ! you ever loved him, when his name was 
never breathed by those lips. You loved him when you 
deemed he had forgotten you ; when you pictured him to 
yourself in all the pride of health and genius, wanton and 
daring ; and now, now that he comes to you penitent, per- 
haps dying, more like a remorseful spirit than a breathing 
being, and humbles himself before you, and appeals only to 
your mercy, ah ! my mother, you cannot reject, you could 
not reject him, even if you were alone, even if you had no 
child ! ' 

' My child ! my child ! all my hopes were in my child,' 
murmured Lady Annabel. 

' Is she not by your side ? ' said Venetia. 

' You know not what you ask ; you know not what you 
counsel,' said Lady Annabel. ' It has been the prayer and 
effort of my life that you should never know. There is a 
bitterness in the reconciliation which follows long estrange- 
ment, that yields a pang more acute even than the first dis- 
union. Shall I be called upon to mourn over the wasted 
happiness of twenty years ? Why did he not hate us ? ' 

' The pang is already felt, mother,' said Venetia. ' Re- 
ject my father, but you cannot resume the feelings of a 
month back. You have seen him ; you have listened to him. 
He is no longer the character which justified your conduct, 

c C 



386 VENETIA. 

and upheld you under the trial. His image has entered 
your soul ; your heart is softened. Bid him quit Venice 
without seeing you, and you will remain the most miserable 
of women.' 

' On his head, then, be the final desolation,' said Lady 
Annabel ; ' it is but a part of the lot that he has yielded 
me.' 

' I am silent,' said Venetia, relaxing her grasp. ' I see 
that your child is not permitted to enter into your con- 
siderations.' She turned away. 

' Venetia ! ' said her mother. 

' Mother ! ' said Venetia, looking back, but not returning. 

' Return one moment to me.' 

Venetia slowly rejoined her. Lady Annabel spoke in a 
kind and gentle, though serious tone. 

' Venetia,' she said, ' what I am about to speak is not the 
impulse of the moment, but has been long revolved in my 
mind ; do not, therefore, misapprehend it. I express with- 
out passion what I believe to be truth. I am persuaded 
that the presence of your father is necessary to your happi- 
ness ; nay, more, to your life. I recognise the mysterious 
influence which he has ever exercised over your existence. 
I feel it impossible for me any longer to struggle against a 
power to which I bow. Be happy, then, my daughter, and 
live. Ply to your father, and be to him as matchless a 
child as you have been to me.' She uttered these last words 
in a choking voice. 

'Is this, indeed, the dictate of your calm judgment, 
mother ? ' said Venetia. 

' I call God to witness, it has of late been more than once 
on my lips. The other night, when I spoke of Bovigo, I 
was about to express this.' 

' Then, mother!' said Venetia, ' I find that I have been 
misunderstood. At least I thought my feelings towards 
yourself had been appreciated. They have not ; and I can 
truly say, my life does not afford a single circumstance to 
which I can look back with content. Well will it indeed 
be for me to die ! ' 



VENETIA. 387 

' The dream of my life,' said Lady Annabel, in a tone of 
infinite distress, ' was that she, at least, should never know 
unhappiness. It was indeed a dream.' 

There was now a silence of several minutes. Lady 
Annabel remained in exactly the same position, Venetia 
standing at a little distance from her, looking resigned and 
sorrowful. 

' Venetia,' a,t length said Lady Annabel, ' why are you 
silent ? ' 

'Mother, I have no more to say. I pretend not to act 
in this life ; it is my duty to follow you.' 

' And your inclination ? ' inquired Lady Annabel. 

' I have ceased to have a wish upon any subject,' said 
Venetia. 

' Venetia,' said Lady Annabel, with a great effort, 'I am 
miserable.' 

This unprecedented confession of suffering from the 
strong mind of her mother, melted Venetia to the heart. 
She advanced, and threw her arms round her mother's 
neck, and buried her weeping face in Lady Annabel's 
bosom. 

' Speak to me, my daughter,' said Lady Annabel ; 'counsel 
me, for my mind trembles ; anxiety has weakened it. Nay, 
I beseech you, speak. Speak, speak, Venetia. What shall 
I do?' 

' Mother, I will never say anything again but that I love 
you ! ' 

' I see the holy father in the distance. Let us walk to 
him, my child, and meet him.' 

Accordingly Lady Annabel, now leaning on Venetia, ap- 
proached the monk. About five minutes elapsed before 
they reached him, during which not a word was spoken. 

' Holy father,' said Lady Annabel, in a tone of firmness 
that surprised her daughter and made her tremble with 
anticipation, ' you know the writer of this letter ? ' 

' He is my friend of many years, lady,' replied the 
Armenian ; ' I knew him in America. I owe to him my 

c c 2 



388 VENETIA. 

life, and more than my life. There breathes not his equal 
among men.' 

A tear started to the eye of Lady Annabel ; she recalled 
the terms in which the household at Arqua had spoken of 
Herbert. ' He is in Venice ? ' she inquired. 

'He is within these walls,' the monk replied. 

Venetia, scarcely able to stand, felt her mother start. 
After a momentary panse, Lady Annabel said, ' Can I speak 
with him, and alone ?' 

Nothing but the most nervous apprehension of throw- 
ing any obstacle in the way of the interview could have 
sustained Venetia. Quite pale, with her disengaged hand 
clenched, not a word escaped her lips. She hung upon the 
answer of the monk. 

' You can see him, and alone,' said the monk. ' He is 
now in the sacristy. Follow me.' 

' Venetia,' said Lady Annabel, ' remain in this garden. 
I will accompany this holy man. Stop ! embrace me before 
I go, and,' she added, in a whisper, ' pray for me.' 

It needed not the admonition of her mother to induce 
Venetia to seek refuge in prayer, in this agony of her life. 
But for its salutary and stilling influence, it seemed to her 
that she must have forfeited all control over her mind. The 
suspense was too terrible for human aid to support her. 
Seated by the sea-side, she covered her face with her hands, 
and invoked the Supreme assistance. More than an hour 
passed away. Venetia looked up. Two beautiful birds, of 
strange form and spotless plumage, that perhaps had wan- 
dered from the ./Egean, were hovering over her head, bright 
and glancing in the sun. She accepted their appearance as 
a good omen. At this moment she heard a voice, and, look- 
ing up, observed a monk in the distance, beckoning to her. 
She rose, and with a trembling step approached him. He 
retired, still motioning to her to follow him. She entered, 
by a low portal, a dark cloister ; it led to an ante-chapel, 
through which, as she passed, her ear caught the solemn 
chorus of the brethren. Her step faltered ; her sight was 



VENETIA. 339 

clouded ; she was as one walking in a dream. The monk 
opened a door, and, retiring, waved his hand, as for her to 
enter. There was a spacious and lofty chamber, scantily 
furnished, some huge chests, and many sacred garments. 
At the extreme distance her mother was reclined on a 
bench, her head supported by a large crimson cushion, and 
her father kneeling by her mother's side. With a soundless 
step, and not venturing even to breathe, Venetia approached 
them, and, she knew not how, found herself embraced by 
both her parents. 



END OF BOOK V. 



390 VENETIA. 



BOOK VL 



CHAPTER I. 

IN a green valley of the Apennines, close to the sea-coast 
between Genoa and Spezzia, is -a marine villa, that once 
belonged to the Malaspina family, in olden time the friends 
and patrons of Dante. It is rather a fantastic pile, painted 
in fresco, but spacious, in good repair, and convenient. 
Although little more than a mile from Spezzia, a glimpse 
of the blue sea can only be caught from one particular spot, 
so completely is the land locked with hills, covered with 
groves of chestnut and olive orchards. From the heights, 
however, you enjoy magnificent prospects of the most pic- 
turesque portion of the Italian coast ; a lofty, undulating, 
and wooded shore, with an infinite variety of bays and 
jutting promontories ; while the eye, wandering from Leg- 
horn on one side towards Genoa on the other, traces an 
almost uninterrupted line of hamlets and casinos, gardens 
and orchards, terraces of vines, and groves of olive. Beyond 
them, the broad and blue expanse of the midland ocean, 
glittering in the meridian blaze, or about to receive perhaps 
in its glowing waters the red orb of sunset. 

It was the month of May, in Italy, at least, the merry 
month of May, and Marmion Herbert came forth from the 
villa Malaspina, and throwing himself on the turf, was 
soon lost in the volume of Plato which he bore with him. 
He did not move until in the course of an hour he was 
roused by the arrival of servants, who brought seats and a 
table, when, looking up, he observed Lady Annabel and 
Venetia in the portico of the villa. He rose to greet them, 
and gave his arm to his wife. 



VENETIA. 391 

' Spring in the Apennines, my Annabel,' said Herbert, 
' is a happy combination. I am more in love each day with 
this residence. The situation is so sheltered, the air so soft 
and pure, the spot so tranquil, and the season so delicious, 
that it realises all my romance of retirement. As for you, 
I never saw you look so well ; and as for Venetia, I can 
scarcely believe this rosy nymph could have been our pale- 
eyed girl, who cost us such anxiety ! ' 

' Our breakfast is not ready. Let us walk to our sea 
view,' said Lady Annabel. ' Give me your book to carry, 
Marmion.' 

' There let the philosopher repose,' said Herbert, throw- 
ing the volume on the turf. ' Plato dreamed of what I enjoy.' 

' And of what did Plato dream, papa ? ' said Yenetia. 

' He dreamed of love, child.' 

Venetia took her father's disengaged arm. 

They had now arrived at their sea view,' a glimpse of the 
Mediterranean between two tall crags. 

'A sail in the offing,' said Herbert. 'How that solitary 
sail tells, Annabel ! ' 

' I feel the sea breeze, mother. Does not it remind you 
ofWeymouth?' said Venetia. 

' Ah ! Marmion,' said Lady Annabel, ' I would that you 
could see Masham once more. He is the only friend that I 
regret.' 

' He prospers, Annabel ; let that be our consolation : I 
have at least not injured him.' 

They turned their steps ; their breakfast was now pre- 
pared. The sun had risen above the hill beneath whose 
shade they rested, and the opposite side of the valley 
sparkled in light. It was a cheerful scene. 'I have a 
passion for living in the air,' said Herbert ; ' I always envied 
the shepherds in Don Quixote. One of my youthful dreams 
was living among mountains of rosemary, and drinking only 
goat's milk. After breakfast I will read you Don Quixote's 
description of the golden age. I have often read it until 
the tears came into my eyes.' 



392 VENETIA. 

' We must fancy ourselves in Spain,' said Lady Annabel ; 
' it is not difficult in this wild green valley ; and if we Lave 
not rosemary, we have scents as sweet. Nature is our gar- 
den here, Venetia ; and I do not envy even the statues and 
cypresses of our villa of the lake.' 

' We must make a pilgrimage some day to the Maggiore, 
Annabel,' said Herbert. 'It is hallowed ground to me 
now.' 

Their meal was finished, the servants brought their work, 
and books, and drawings ; and Herbert, resuming his 
natural couch, re-opened his Plato, but Venetia ran into 
the villa, and returned with a volume. ' You must read us 
the golden age, papa,' she said, as she offered him, with a 
smile, his favourite Don Quixote. 

'You must fancy the Don looking earnestly upon a 
handful of acorns,' said Herbert, opening the book, ' while 
he exclaims, " happy age ! which our first parents called 
the age of gold ! not because gold, so much adored in this 
iron age, was then easily purchased, but because those two 
fatal words, meum and tuum, were distinctions unknown to 
the people of those fortunate times ; for all things were in 
common in that holy age : men, for their sustenance, needed 
only to lift their hands, and take it from the sturdy oak, 
whose spreading arms liberally invited them to gather the 
wholesome savoury fruit ; while the clear springs, and silver 
rivulets, with luxuriant plenty, afforded them their pure 
refreshing water. In hollow trees, and in the clefts of 
rocks, the labouring and industrious bees erected their 
little commonwealths, that men might reap with pleasure 
and with ease the sweet and fertile harvest of their toils. 
The tough and strenuous cork-trees did, of themselves, and 
without other art than their native liberality, dismiss and 
impart their broad light bark, which served to cover those 
lowly huts, propped up with rough-hewn stakes, that were 
first built as a shelter against the inclemencies of the air. 
All then was union, all peace, all love and friendship in the 
world. As yet no rude ploughshare presumed with violence 



VENETIA. 393 

to pry into the pious bowels of our mother earth, for she 
without compulsion kindly yielded from every part of her 
fruitful and spacious bosom, whatever might at once satisfy, 
sustain, and indulge her frugal children. Then was the 
time when innocent, beautiful young sheperdesses went 
tripping over the hills and vales ; their lovely hair some- 
times plaited, sometimes loose and flowing, clad in no other 
vestment but what the modesty of nature might require. 
The Tyrian dye, the rich glossy hue of silk, martyred and 
dissembled into every colour, which are now esteemed so 
fine and magnificent, were unknown to the innocent sim- 
plicity of that age ; yet, bedecked with more becoming 
leaves and flowers, they outshone the proudest of the vain- 
dressing ladies of our times, arrayed in the most magnificent 
garbs and all the most sumptuous adornings which idleness 
and luxury have taught succeeding pride. Lovers then 
expressed the passion of their souls in the unaffected lan- 
guage of the heart, with the native plainness and sincerity 
in which they were conceived, and divested of all that arti- 
ficial contexture which enervates what it labours to enforce. 
Imposture, deceit, and malice had not yet crept in, and im- 
posed themselves unbribed upon mankind in the disguise of 
truth : justice, unbiassed either by favour or interest, which 
now so fatally pervert it, was equally and impartially dis- 
pensed ; nor was the judge's fancy law, for then there were 
neither judges nor causes to be judged. The modest maid 
might then walk alone. But, in this degenerate age, fraud 
and a legion of ills infecting the world, no virtue can be 
safe, no honour be secure ; while wanton desires, diffused 
into the hearts of men, corrupt the strictest watches and 
the closest retreats, which, though as intricate and unknown 
as the labyrinth of Crete, are no security for chastity. Thus, 
that primitive innocence being vanished, the oppression 
daily prevailing, there was a necessity to oppose the torrent 
of violence ; for which reason the order of knighthood 
errant was instituted, to defend the honour of virgins, pro- 
tect widows, relieve orphans, and assist all that are dis- 



394 VENETIA. 

tressed. Now I myself am one of this order, honest friends ; 
and though all people are obliged by the law of nature to 
be kind to persons of my character, yet since you, without 
knowing anything of this obligation, have so generously 
entertained me, I ought to pay you my utmost ac- 
knowledgment, and accordingly return you my most hearty 
thanks." ' 

' There,' said Herbert, as he closed the book. ' In my 
opinion, Don Quixote was the best%nan that ever lived.' 

' But he did not ever live,' said Lady Annabel, smiling. 

' He lives to us,' said Herbert. ' He is the same to this 
age as if he had absolutely wandered over the plains of 
Castile and watched in the Sierra Morena. We cannot, 
indeed, find his tomb ; but he has left us his great example. 
In his hero, Cervantes has given us the picture of a great 
and benevolent philosopher, and in his Sancho, a complete 
personification of the world, selfish and cunning, and yet 
overawed by the genius that he cannot comprehend : alive 
to all the material interests of existence, yet sighing after 
the ideal ; securing his four young foals of the she-ass, yet 
indulging in dreams of empire.' 

' But what do you think of the assault on the windmills, 
Marmion ? ' said Lady Annabel. 

' In the outset of his adventures, as in the outset of our 
lives, he was misled by his enthusiasm,' replied Herbert, 
' without which, after all, we can do nothing. But the 
result is, Don Quixote was a redresser of wrongs, and there- 
fore the world esteemed him mad.' 

In this vein, now conversing, now occupied with their 
pursuits, and occasionally listening to some passage which 
Herbert called to their attention, and which ever served as 
the occasion for some critical remarks, always as striking 
from their originality as they were happy in their expression, 
the freshness of the morning disappeared ; the sun now 
crowned the valley with his meridian beam, and they re- 
entered the villa. The ladies returned to their cool saloon, 
and Herbert to his study. 



VENETIA. 395 

It was there he amused himself by composing the follow- 
ing lines : 



SPRING IN THE APENNINES. 



SPRING in the Apennine now holds her court 

Within an amphitheatre of hills, 

Clothed with the blooming chestnut ; musical 

With murmuring pines, waving their light green cones 

Like youthful Bacchants ; while the dewy grass, 

The myrtle and the mountain violet, 

Blend their rich odours with the fragrant trees, 

And sweeten the soft air. Above us spreads 

The purple sky, bright with the unseen sun 

The hills yet screen, although the golden beam 

Touches the topmost boughs, and tints with light 

The grey and sparkling crags. The breath of morn 

Still lingers in the valley ; but the bee 

With restless passion hovers on the wing, 

Waiting the opening flower, of whose embrace 

The sun shall be the signal. Poised in air, 

The winged minstrel of the liquid dawn, 

The lark, pours forth his lyric, and responds 

To the fresh chorus of the sylvan doves, 

The stir of branches and the fall of streams, 

The harmonies of nature ! 



Gentle Spring ! 

Once more, oh, yes ! once more I feel thy breath, 
And charm of renovation ! To the sky 
Thou bringest light, and to the glowing earth 
A garb of grace : but sweeter than the sky 
That hath no cloud, and sweeter than the earth 
With all its pageantry, the peerless boon 
Thou bearest to me, a temper like thine own ; 
A springlike spirit, beautiful and glad ! 
Long years, long years of suffering, and of thought 
Deeper than woe, had dimmed the eager eye 
Once quick to catch thy brightness, and the ear 
That lingered on thy music, the harsh world 
Had jarred. The freshness of my life was gone, 
And hope no more an omen in thy bloom 
Found of a fertile future ! There are minds, 
Like lands, but with one season, and that drear; 
Mine was eternal winter ! 



396 VENETIA. 



A dark dream 

Of hearts estranged, and of an Eden lost 
Entranced my being ; one absorbing thought, 
Which, if not torture, -was a dull despair 
That agony were light to. But while sad 
Within the desert of my life I roamed, 
And no sweet springs of love gushed for to greet 
My wearied heart, behold two spirits came 
Floating in light, seraphic ministers, 
The semblance of whose splendour on me fell 
As on some dusky stream the matin ray, 
Touching the gloomy waters with its life. 
And both were fond, and one was merciful ! 
And to my home long forfeited they bore 
My vagrant spirit, and the gentle hearth, 
I reckless fled, received me with its shade 
And pleasant refuge. And our softened hearts 
Were like the twilight, when our very bliss 
Calls tears to soothe our rapture ; as the stars 
Steal forth, then shining smiles their trembling ray 
Mixed with our tenderness ; and love was there 
In all his manifold forms ; the sweet embrace', 
And thrilling pressure of the gentle hand, 
And silence speaking with the melting eye ! 



And now again I feel thy breath, spring ! 
And now the seal hath fallen from my gaze, 
And thy wild music in my ready ear 
Finds a quick echo ! The discordant world 
Mars not thy melodies ; thy blossoms now 
Are emblems of my heart ; and through my veins 
The flow of youthful feeling, long pent up, 
Glides like thy sunny streams! In this fair scene, 
On forms still fairer I my blessing pour ; 
On her the beautiful, the wise, the good, 
Who learnt the sweetest lesson to forgive ; 
And on the bright-eyed daughter of our love, 
Who soothed a mother, and a father saved ! 



CHAPTER II. 

BETWEEN the reconciliation of Lady Annabel Herbert with her 
husband, at the Armenian convent at Venice, and the spring 
morning in the Apennines, which we have just described, 



VENETIA. 397 

half a year had intervened. The political position of Mar- 
mion Herbert rendered it impossible for him to remain in 
any city where there was a representative of his Britannic 
Majesty. Indeed, it was scarcely safe for him to be known 
out of America. He had quitted that country shortly after 
the struggle was over, chiefly from considerations for his 
health. His energies had been fast failing him; and a re- 
tired life and change of climate had been recommended by 
his physicians. His own feelings induced him to visit Italy, 
where he had once intended to pass his life, and where he 
now repaired to await death. Assuming a feigned name, 
and living in strict seclusion, it is probable that his presence 
would never have been discovered ; or, if detected, would not 
have been noticed. Once more united with his wife, her per- 
sonal influence at the court of St. James', and her powerful 
connections, might secure him from annoyance ; and Yenetia 
had even indulged in a vague hope of returning to England. 
But Herbert could only have found himself again in his 
native country as a prisoner on parole. It would have been 
quite impossible for him to mix in the civil business of his 
native land, or enjoy any of the rights of citizenship. If a 
mild sovereign in his mercy had indeed accorded him a 
pardon, it must have been accompanied with rigorous and 
mortifying conditions ; and his presence, in all probability, 
would have been confined to his country residence and its 
immediate neighbourhood. The pride of Lady Annabel 
herself recoiled from this sufferance ; and although Herbert, 
keenly conscious of the sacrifice which a permanent estrange- 
ment from England entailed upon his wife and child, would 
have submitted to any restrictions, however humiliating, 
provided they were not inconsistent with his honour, it must 
be confessed that, when he spoke of this painful subject to 
his wife, it was with no slight self-congratulation that he 
had found her resolution to remain abroad under any cir- 
cumstances was fixed with her habitual decision. She 

communicated both to the Bishop of and to her 

brother the unexpected change that had occurred in her 



398 VENETIA. 

condition, and she had reason to believe that a representation 
of what had happened would be made to the Royal family. 
Perhaps both the head of her house and her reverend friend 
anticipated that time might remove the barrier that pre- 
sented itself to Herbert's immediate return to England : they 
confined their answers, however, to congratulations on the 
reconciliation, to their confidence in the satisfaction it would 
occasion her, and to the expression of their faithful friend- 
ship ; and neither alluded to a result which both, if only for 
her sake, desired. 

The Herberts had quitted Venice a very few days after 
the meeting on the island of St. Lazaro ; had travelled by 
slow journeys, crossing the Apennines, to Genoa ; and only 
remained in that city until they engaged their present resi- 
dence. It combined all the advantages which they desired : 
seclusion, beauty, comfort, and the mild atmosphere that 
Venetia had seemed to require. It was not, however, the 
genial air that had recalled the rose to Venetia's cheek and 
the sunny smile to her bright eye, or had inspired again 
that graceful form with all its pristine elasticity. It was a 
heart content ; a spirit at length at peace. The contempla- 
tion of the happiness of those most dear to her that she 
hourly witnessed, and the blissful consciousness that her 
exertions had mainly contributed to, if not completely occa- 
sioned, all this felicity, were remedies of far more efficacy 
than all the consultations and prescriptions of her physi- 
cians. The conduct of her father repaid her for all her 
sufferings, and realised all her dreams of domestic tender- 
ness and delight. Tender, grateful, and affectionate, Her- 
bert hovered round her mother like a delicate spirit who 
had been released by some kind mortal from a tedious and 
revolting thraldom, and who believed he could never suffi- 
ciently testify his devotion. There was so much respect 
blended with his fondness, that the spirit of her mother 
was utterly subdued by his irresistible demeanour. All her 
sadness and reserve, her distrust and her fear, had vanished ; 
and rising confidence mingling with the love she had ever 



VENETIA. 399 

borne to him, she taught herself even to seek his opinion, 
and be guided by his advice. She could not refrain, indeed, 
from occasionally feeling, in this full enjoyment of his love, 
that she might have originally acted with too much precipi- 
tation ; and that, had she only bent for a moment to the 
necessity of conciliation, and condescended to the excusable 
artifices of affection, their misery might have been pre- 
vented. Once when they were alone, her softened heart 
would have confessed to Herbert this painful conviction, 
but he was too happy and too generous to permit her for a 
moment to indulge in such a remorseful retrospect. All 
the error, he insisted, was his own ; and he had been fool 
enough to have wantonly forfeited a happiness which time 
and experience had now taught him to appreciate. 
. ' We married too young, Marmion,' said his wife. 

'It shall be that then, love,' replied Herbert ; ' but for all 
that I have suffered. I would not have avoided my fate on 
the condition of losing the exquisite present ! ' 

It is perhaps scarcely necessary to remark, that Herbert 
avoided with the most scrupulous vigilance the slightest 
allusion to any of those peculiar opinions for which he 
was, unhappily, too celebrated. Musing over the singular 
revolutions which had already occurred in his habits and 
his feelings towards herself, Lady Annabel, indeed, did not 
despair that his once self-sumcient soul might ultimately 
bow to that blessed faith which to herself had ever proved 
so great a support, and so exquisite a solace. It was, in- 
deed, the inexpressible hope that lingered at the bottom of 
her heart ; and sometimes she even indulged in the delightful 
fancy that his mild and penitent spirit had, by the gracious 
mercy of Providence, been already touched by the bright 
sunbeam of conviction. At all events, his subdued and 
chastened temperament was no unworthy preparation for 
still greater blessings. It was this hallowed anticipation 
which consoled, and alone consoled, Lady Annabel for her 
own estrangement from the communion of her national 
church. Of all the sacrifices which her devotion to Her- 



400 VENETIA. 

bert entailed upon her, this was the one which she felt 
most constantly and most severely. Not a day elapsed but 
the chapel at Cherbury rose before her ; and when she re- 
membered that neither herself nor her daughter might 
again kneel round the altar of their God, she almost 
trembled at the step which she had taken, and almost 
esteemed it a sacrifice of heavenly to earthly duty, which 
no consideration, perhaps, warranted. This apprehension, 
indeed, was the cloud in her life, and one which Venetia, 
who felt all its validity, found difficulty in combating. 

Otherwise, when Venetia beheld her parents, she felt 
ethereal, and seemed to move in air ; for her life, in spite of 
its apparent tranquillity, was to her all excitement. She 
never looked upon her father, or heard his voice, without a 
thrill. His society was as delightful as his heart was tender. 
It seemed to her that she could listen to him for ever. Every 
word he spoke was different from the language of other 
men ; there was not a subject on which his richly- cultivated 
mind could not pour forth instantaneously a flood of fine 
fancies and deep intelligence. He seemed to have read 
every book in every language, and to have mused over 
every line he had read. She could not conceive how one, 
the tone of whose mind was so original that it suggested on 
every topic some conclusion that struck instantly by its 
racy novelty, could be so saturated with the learning and 
the views of other men. Although they lived in unbroken 
solitude, and were almost always together, not a day passed 
that she did not find herself musing over some thought or 
expression of her father, and which broke from his mind 
without effort, and as if by chance. Literature to Herbert 
was now only a source of amusement and engaging occupa 
iion. All thought of fame had long fled his soul. He cared 
oot for being disturbed ; and he would throw down his 
Plato for Don Quixote, or close his ^Eschylus and take up 
a volume of Madame de Sevigne without a murmur, if re- 
minded by anything that occurred of a passage which might 
contribute to the amusement and instruction of his wile 



VENETIA. 401 

and daughter. Indeed, his only study now was to contri- 
bute to their happiness. For him they had given up their 
country and society, and he sought, by his vigilant atten- 
tion and his various accomplishments, to render their hours 
as light and pleasant as, under such circumstances, was 
possible. His muse, too, was only dedicated to the cele- 
bration of any topic which their life or themselves suggested. 
He loved to lie under the trees, and pour forth sonnets to 
Lady Annabel ; and encouraged Venetia, by the readiness 
and interest with which he invariably complied with her 
intimations, to throw out every fancy which occurred to 
her for his verse. A life passed without the intrusion of 
a single evil passion, without a single expression that was 
not soft, and graceful, and mild, and adorned with all the 
resources of a most accomplished and creative spirit, re- 
quired not tlio distractions of society. It would have 
shrunk from it, from all its artificial excitement and vapid 
reaction. The days of the Herberts flowed on in one bright, 
continuous stream of love, and literature, and gentle plea- 
sures. Beneath them was the green earth, above them the 
blue sky. Their spirits were as clear, and their hearts as 
soft as the clime. 

The hour of twilight was approaching, and the family 
were preparing for their daily walk. Their simple repast 
was finished, and Venetia held the verses which her father 
had written in the morning, and which he had presented 
to her. 

' Let us descend to Spezzia,' said Herbert to Lady Annabel ; 
' I love an ocean sunset.' 

Accordingly they proceeded through their valley to the 
craggy path which led down to the bay. After passing 
through a small ravine, the magnificent prospect opened 
before them. The sun was yet an hour above the horizon, 
and the sea was like a lake of molten gold ; the colour of 
the sky nearest to the sun, of a pale green, with two or 
three burnished streaks of vapour, quite still, and so thin 
you could almost catch the sky through them, fixed, as it 

D D 



402 VENETIA. 

were, in this gorgeous frame. It was now a dead calm, but 
the sail that had been hovering the whole morning in the 
offing had made the harbour in time, and had just cast 
anchor near some coasting craft and fishing-boats, all that 
now remained where Napoleon had projected forming one 
of the arsenals of the world. 

Tracing their way down a mild declivity, covered with 
spreading vineyards, and quite fragrant with the blossom of 
the vine, the Herberts proceeded through a wood of olives, 
and emerged on a terrace raised directly above the shore, 
leading to Spezzia, and studded here and there with rugged 
groups of aloes. 

' I have often observed here,' said Yenetia, ' about a mile 
out at sea ; there, now, where I point ; the water rise. It 
is now a calm, and yet it is more troubled, I think, than 
usual. Tell me the cause, dear father, for I have often 
wished to know.' 

' It passes my experience,' said Herbert ; ' but here is an 
ancient fisherman ; let us inquire of him.' 

He was an old man, leaning against a rock, and smoking 
his pipe in contemplative silence ; his face bronzed with the 
sun and the roughness of many seasons, and his grey hairs 
not hidden by his long blue cap. Herbert saluted him, 
and, pointing to the phenomenon, requested an explanation 
of it. 

* 'Tis a fountain of fresh water, signor, that rises in our 
gulf,' said the old fisherman, ' to the height of twenty 
feet.' 

' And is it constant ? ' inquired Herbert. 

' 'Tis the same in sunshine and in storm, in summer and 
in winter, in calm or in breeze,' said the old fisherman. 

' And has it always been so ? ' 

' It came before my time.' 

'A philosophic answer,' said Herbert, and deserves a 
paul. Mine was a crude question. Adio, good friend.' 

' I should like to drink of that fountain of fresh water, 
Annabel,' said Herbert. ' There seems to me something 



VENETIA. 403 

wondrous fanciful in it. Some day \ve will row there. It 
shall be a calm like this.' 

' We want a fountain in our valley,' said Lady Annabel. 
' We do,' said Herbert ; ' and I think we must make one ; 
we must inquire at Genoa. I am curious in fountains. Our 
fountain should, I think, be classical ; simple, compact, with 
a choice inscription, the altar of a Naiad.' 

' And mamma shall make the design, and you shall write 
the inscription,' said Venetia. 

' And you shall be the nymph, child,' said Herbert. 
They were now within a bowshot of the harbour, and a 
jutting cliff of marble, more graceful from a contiguous bed 
of myrtles, invited them to rest, and watch the approaching 
sunset. 

' Say what they like,' said Herbert, ' there is a spell in 
the shores of the Mediterranean Sea which no others can 
rival. Never was such a union of natural loveliness and 
magical associations ! On these shores have risen all that 
interests us in the past : Egypt and Palestine, Greece, 
Rome, and Carthage, Moorish Spain, and feodal Italy. 
These shores have yielded us our religion, our arts, our 
literature, and our laws. If all that we have gained from 
the shores of the Mediterranean was erased from the memory 
of man, we should be savages. Will the Atlantic ever be 
so memorable? Its civilisation will be more rapid, but 
will it be as refined? and, far more important, will it be as 
permanent? Will it not lack the racy vigour and the 
subtle spirit of aboriginal genius ? Will not a colonial cha- 
racter cling to its society, feeble, inanimate, evanescent? 
What America is deficient in is creative intellect. It has 
no nationality. Its intelligence has been imported, like its 
manufactured goods. Its inhabitants are a people, but are 
they a nation ? I wish that the empire of the Incas and the 
kingdom of Montezuma had not been sacrificed. I wish 
that the republic of the Puritans had blended with the 
tribes of the wilderness.' 

The red sun was now hovering over the horizon ; it 
D D 2 



404 VENETIA. 

quivered for an instant, and then sank. Immediately the 
high and undulating coast was covered with a crimson 
flush ; the cliffs, the groves, the bays and jutting promon- 
tories, each straggling sail and tall white tower, suffused 
with a rosy light. Gradually that rosy tint became a 
bright violet, and then faded into purple. But the glory 
of the sunset long lingered in the glowing west, streaming 
with every colour of the Iris, while a solitary star glittered 
with silver light amid the shifting splendour. 

' Hesperus rises from the sunset like the fountain of fresh 
water from the sea,' said Herbert. ' The sky and the ocean 
have two natures, like ourselves.' 

At this moment the boat of the vessel, which had an- 
chored about an hour back, put to shore. 

' That seems an English brig,' said Herbert. ' I cannot 
exactly make out its trim ; it scarcely seems a merchant 
vessel.' 

The projection of the shore hid the boat from their sight 
as it landed. The Herberts rose, and proceeded towards 
the harbour. There were some rude steps cut in the rock 
which led from the immediate shore to the terrace. As 
they approached these, two gentlemen in sailors' jackets 
mounted suddenly. Lady Annabel and Venetia simulta- 
neously started as they recognised Lord Cadurcis and his 
cousin. They were so close that neither party had time to 
prepare themselves. Venetia found her hand in that of 
Plantagenet, while Lady Annabel saluted George. Infinite 
were their mutual inquiries and congratulations, but it so 
happened that, with one exception, no name was men- 
tioned. It was quite evident, however, to Herbert, that 
these were very familiar acquaintances of his family ; for, in 
the surprise of the moment, Lord Cadurcis had saluted his 
daughter by her Christian name. There was no slight 
emotion, too, displayed on all sides. Indeed, independently 
of the agitation which so unexpected a rencounter was cal- 
culated to produce, the presence of Herbert, after the first 
moments of recognition, not a little excited the curiosity of 



VEiNETIA. 405 

the young men, and in some degree occasioned the embar- 
rassment of all. Who was this stranger, on whom Venetia 
and her mother were leaning with such fondness ? He was 
scarcely too old to be the admirer of Venetia, and if there 
were a greater disparity of years between them than is 
usual, his distinguished appearance might well reconcile 
the lady to her lot, or even justify her choice. Had, then, 
Cadurcis again met Venetia only to find her the bride or 
the betrothed of another ? a mortifying situation, even an 
intolerable one, if his feelings remained unchanged ; and if 
the eventful year that had elapsed since they parted had 
not replaced her image in his susceptible mind by another 
more cherished, and, perhaps, less obdurate. Again, to 
Lady Annabel the moment was one of great awkwardness, 
for the introduction of her husband to those with whom 
she was recently so intimate, and who were then aware 
that the name of that husband was never even mentioned 
in her presence, recalled the painful past with a disturbing 
vividness. Venetia, indeed, did not share these feelings 
fully, but she thought it ungracious to anticipate her 
mother in the announcement. 

The Herberts turned with Lord Cadurcis and his cousin ; 
they were about to retrace their steps on the terrace, when 
Lady Annabel, taking advantage of the momentary silence, 
and summoning all her energy, with a pale cheek and a 
voice that slightly faltered, said, ' Lord Cadurcis, allow me 
to present you to Mr. Herbert, my husband,' she added 
with emphasis. 

'Good God!' exclaimed Cadurcis, starting; and then, 
outstretching his hand, he contrived to add, 'have I, in- 
deed, the pleasure of seeing one I have so long admired ? ' 

' Lord Cadurcis ! ' exclaimed Herbert, scarcely less sur- 
prised. ' Is it Lord Cadurcis ? This is a welcome meeting.' 

Everyone present felt overwhelmed with confusion or 
astonishment ; Lady Annabel sought refuge in presenting 
Captain Cadurcis to her husband. This ceremony, though 
little noticed even by those more immediately interested in 



406 VENETIA. 

it, nevertheless served, in some degree, as a diversion. 
Herbert, who was only astonished, was the first who 
rallied. Perhaps Lord Gadurcis was the only man in ex- 
istence whom Herbert wished to know. He had read his 
works with deep interest ; at least, those portions which, 
foreign journals had afforded him. He was deeply im- 
pressed with his fame and genius ; but what perplexed him 
at this moment, even more than his unexpected introduc- 
tion to him, was the singular, the very extraordinary cir- 
cumstance, that the name of their most celebrated country- 
man should never have escaped the lips either of his wife 
or his daughter, although they appeared, and Venetia 
especially, to be on terms with him of even domestic 
intimacy. 

' Tou arrived here to day, Lord Cadurcis ? ' said Herbert. 
' From whence ? ' 

' Immediately from Naples, where we last touched,' re- 
plied his lordship ; ' but I have been residing at Athens.' 

' I envy you,' said Herbert. 

' It would be a fit residence for you,' said Lord Cadurcis. 
' Tou were, however, in some degree, my companion, for a 
volume of your poems was one of the few books I had with 
me. I parted with all the rest, but I retained that. It is 
in my cabin, and full of my scribblement. If you would 
condescend to accept it, I would offer it to you.' 

Mr. Herbert and Lord Cadurcis maintained the conver- 
sation along the terrace. Venetia, by whose side her old 
companion walked, was quite silent. Once her eyes met 
those of Cadurcis ; his expression of mingled archness and 
astonishment was irresistible. His cousin and Lady Anna- 
bel carried on a more suppressed conversation, but on 
ordinary topics. When they had reached the olive-grove 
Herbert said, ' Here lies our way homeward, my lord. If 
you. and your cousin will accompany us, it will delight 
Lady Annabel and myself.' 

' Nothing, I am sure, will give George and myself greater 
pleasure,' he replied. ' We had, indeed, no purpose when 



VENETIA. 407 

you met us but to enjoy our escape from imprisonment, 
little dreaming we should meet our kindest and oldest 
friends,' he added. 

' Kindest and oldest friends ! ' thought Herbert to him- 
self. ' Well, this is strange indeed.' 

'It is but a slight distance,' said Lady Annabel, who 
thought it necessary to enforce the invitation. ' We live in 
the valley, of which yonder hill forms a part.' 

' And there we have passed our winter and our spring,' 
added Venetia, ' almost as delightfully as you could have 
done at Athens.' 

' Well,' thought Cadurcis to himself, 'I have seen many 
of the world's marvels, but this day is a miracle.' 

When they had proceeded through the olive-wood, and 
mounted the acclivity, they arrived at a path which per- 
mitted the ascent of only one person at a time. Cadurcis 
was last, and followed Venetia. Unable any longer to 
endure the suspense, he was rather irritated that she kept 
so close to her father ; he himself loitered a few paces 
behind, and, breaking off a branch of laurel, he tossed it at 
her. She looked round and smiled ; he beckoned to her to 
fall back. ' Tell me, Venetia,' he said, ' what does all this 
mean ? ' 

' It means that we are at last all very happy,' she replied. 
' Do you not see my father ? ' 

' Yes ; and I am very glad to see him ; but this company 
is the very last in which I expected to have that pleasure.' 

4 It is too long a story to tell now ; you must imagine it.' 

* But are you glad to see me ? ' 

'Very.' 

' I don't think you care for me the least.' 

' Silly Lord Cadurcis ! ' she said, smiling. 

' If you call me Lord Cadurcis, I shall immediately go 
back to the brig, and set sail this night for Athens.' 

' Well then, silly Plantagenet ! ' 

He laughed, and they ran on. 



408 VENETIA. 



CHAPTER in. 

' WELL, I am not surprised that you should have passed 
your time delightfully here,' said Lord Cadurcis to Lady 
Annabel, when they had entered the villa ; ' for I never 
beheld so delightful a retreat. It is even more exquisite 
than your villa on the lake, of which George gave me so 
glowing a description. I was almost tempted to hasten to 
you. Would you have smiled on me ! ' he added, rather 
archly, and in a coaxing tone. 

' I am more gratified that we have met here,' said Lady 
Annabel. 

' And thus,' added Cadurcis. 

' You have been a great traveller since we last met ? ' 
said Lady Annabel, a little embarrassed. 

' My days of restlessness are over,' said Cadurcis. ' I 
desire nothing more dearly than to settle down in the 
bosom of these green hills as you have done.' 

'This life suits Mr. Herbert,' said Lady Annabel. 'He 
is fond of seclusion, and you know I am accustomed to it.' 

' Ah ! yes,' said Cadurcis, mournfully. ' When I was in 
Greece, I used often to wish that none of us had ever left 
dear Cherbury ; but I do not now.' 

' We must forget Cherbury,' said Lady Annabel. 

' I cannot : I cannot forget her who cherished my melan- 
choly childhood. Dear Lady Annabel,' he added in a voice 
of emotion, and offering her his hand, ' forget all my follies, 
and remember that I was your child, once as dutiful as you 
were affectionate.' 

Who could resist this appeal ? Lady Annabel, not with- 
out agitation, yielded him her hand, which he pressed to 
his lips. ' Now I am again happy,' said Cadurcis ; ' now 
we are all happy. Sweetest of friends, you have removed 
in a moment the bitterness of years.' 

Although lights were in the saloon, the windows opening 



VENETIA. 409 

on the portico were not closed. The evening air was soft 
and balmy, and though the moon had not risen, the distant 
hills were clear in the starlight. Venetia was standing in 
the portico conversing with George Cadurcis. 

'I suppose you are too much of a Turk' to drink our 
coffee, Lord Cadurcis,' said Herbert. Cadurcis turned and 
joined him, together with Lady Annabel. 

'Nay,' said Lord Cadurcis, in a joyous tone, 'Lady 
Annabel will answer for me that I always find everything 
perfect under her roof.' 

Captain Cadurcis and Venetia now re-entered the villa ; 
they clustered round the table, and seated themselves. 

' Why, Venetia,' said Cadurcis, ' George met me in Sicily 
and quite frightened me about you. Is it the air of the 
Apennines that has worked these marvels ? for, really, you 
appear to me exactly the same as when we learnt the 
French vocabulary together ten years ago.' 

'"The French vocabulary together, ten years ago!" 1 
thought Herbert ; ' not a mere London acquaintance, then. 
This is very strange.' 

' Why, indeed, Plantagenet,' replied Venetia, ' I was 
very unwell when George visited us ; but I really have 
quite forgotten that I ever was an invalid, and I never 
mean to be again.' 

'"Plantagenet!"' soliloquised Herbert. 'And this is 
the great poet of whom I have heard so much ! My daugh- 
ter is tolerably familiar with him.' 

' I have brought you all sorts of buffooneries from Stam- 
boul,' continued Cadurcis ; ' sweetmeats, and slippers, and 
shawls, and daggers worn only by sultanas, and with which, 
if necessary, they can keep " the harem's lord " in order. I 
meant to have sent them with George to England, for 
really I did not anticipate our meeting here.' 

'"Sweetmeats and slippers,"' said Herbert to himself, 
' " shawls and daggers ! " What next ? ' 

'And has George been with you all the time ?' inquired 
Venetia. 



410 VENETIA. 

' Oh ! we quarrelled now and then, of course. He found 
Athens dull, and would stay at Constantinople, chained by 
the charms of a fair Perote, to whom he wanted me to write 
sonnets in his name. I would not, because I thought it 
immoral. But, on the whole, we got on very well ; a sort 
of Pylades and Orestes, I assure you ; we never absolutely 
fought.' 

' Come, come,' said George, ' Cadurcis is always ashamed 
of being amiable. We were together much more than I 
ever intended or anticipated. You know mine was a sport- 
ing tour ; and therefore, of course, we were sometimes 
separated. But he was exceedingly popular with all parties, 
especially the Turks, whom he rewarded for their courtesy 
by writing odes to the Greeks to stir them up to revolt.' 

' "Well, they never read them,' said Cadurcis. * All we, 
poor fellows, can do,' he added, turning to Herbert, ' is to 
wake the Hellenistic raptures of May Fair ; and that they 
call fame ; as much like fame as a toadstool is Eke a truffle.' 

'Nevertheless, I hope the muse has not slumbered,' said 
Herbert ; ' for you have had the happiest inspiration in the 
climes in which you have resided ; not only are they essen- 
tially poetic, but they offer a virgin vein.' 

' I have written a little,' replied Cadurcis ; ' I will give 
it you, if you like, some day to turn over. Yours is the 
only opinion that I really care for. I have no great idea 
of the poetry ; but I am very strong in my costume. I feel 
very confident about that. I fancy I know how to hit off a 
pasha, or touch in a Greek pirate now. As for all the things 
I wrote in England, I really am ashamed of them. I got 
up my orientalism from books, and sultans and sultanas at 
masquerades,' he added, archly. ' I remember I made my 
heroines always wear turbans ; only conceive my horror 
when I found that a Turkish woman would as soon think 
of putting my hat on as a turban, and that it was an article 
of dress entirely confined to a Bond Street milliner.' 

The evening passed in interesting and diverting conver- 
sation ; of course, principally contributed by the two tra- 



VENETIA. 411 

vellers, who had seen so much. Inspirited by his interview 
with Lady Annabel, and her gracious reception of his over- 
tures, Lord Cadurcis was in one of those frolic humours, 
which we have before noticed was not unnatural to him. 
He had considerable powers of mimicry, and the talent that 
had pictured to Yenetia in old days, with such liveliness, 
the habits of the old maids of Morpeth, was now engaged 
on more considerable topics ; an interview with a pasha, a 
peep into a harem, a visit to a pirate's isle, the slave-market, 
the bazaar, the barracks of the janissaries, all touched with 
irresistible vitality, and coloured with the rich phrases of 
unrivalled force of expression. The laughter was loud and 
continual ; even Lady Annabel joined zealously in the glee. 
As for Herbert, he thought Cadurcis by far the most hearty 
and amusing person he had ever known, and could not re- 
frain from contrasting him with the picture which his works 
and the report of the world had occasionally enabled him to 
sketch to his mind's eye ; the noble, young, and impassioned 
bard, pouring forth the eloquent tide of his morbid feelings 
to an idolising world, from whose applause he nevertheless 
turned with an almost misanthropic melancholy. 

It was now much past the noon of night, and the hour 
of separation, long postponed, was inevitable. Often had 
Cadurcis risen to depart, and often, without regaining his 
seat, had he been tempted by his friends, and especially 
Venetia, into fresh narratives. At last he said, 'Now we 
must go. Lady Annabel looks good night. I remember 
the look,' he said, laughing, ' when we used to beg for a 
quarter of an hour more. O Venetia ! do not you remem- 
ber that Christmas when dear old Masham read Julius 
Ca3sar, and we were to sit up until it was finished. When 
he got to the last act I hid his spectacles. I never con- 
fessed it until this moment. Will you pardon me, Lady 
Annabel ? ' and he pressed his hands together in a mockery 
of supplication. 

' Will you come and breakfast with us to-morrow ? ' said 
Lady Annabel. 



412 VENETIA. 

' With delight,' he answered. ' I am used, you know, 
to walks before breakfast. George, I do not think George 
can do it, though. George likes his comforts ; he is a regu- 
lar John Bull. He was always calling for tea when we were 
in Turkey ! ' 

At this moment Mistress Pauncefort entered the room, 
ostensibly on some little affair of her mistress, but really to 
reconnoitre. 

' Ah ! Mistress Pauncefort ; my old friend, Mistress 
Pauncefort, how do you do ? ' exclaimed his lordship. 

' Quite well, my lord, please your lordship ; and very 
glad to see your lordship again, and looking so well too.' 

' Ah ! Mistress Pauncefort, you always flattered me ! ' 

' Oh ! dear, my lord, your lordship, no,' said Mistress 
Pauncefort, with a simper. 

' But you, Pauncefort,' said Cadurcis, ' why there must 
be some magic in the air here. I have been complimenting 
your lady and Miss Venetia; but really, you, I should almost 
have thought it was some younger sister.' 

' Oh ! my lord, you have such a way,' said Mistress 
Pauncefort, retreating with a slow step that still lingered 
for a remark. 

' Pauncefort, is that an Italian cap ? ' said Lord Cadur- 
cis ; ' you know, Pauncefort, you were always famous for 
your caps.' 

Mistress Pauncefort disappeared in a fluster of delight. 

And now they had indeed departed. There was a pau?e 
of complete silence after they had disappeared, the slight 
and not painful reaction after the mirthful excitement of 
the last few hours. At length Herbert, dropping, as was 
his evening custom, a few drops of orange-flower into a 
tumbler of water, said, ' Annabel, my love, I am rather 
surprised that neither you nor Venetia should have men- 
tioned to me that you knew, and knew so intimately, a man 
like Lord Cadnrcis.' 

Lady Annabel appeared a little confused; she looked 
even at Venetia, but Yenetia's eyes were on the ground. 



VENETIA. 413 

At length she said, ' In truth, Marmion, since we met we 
have thought only of you.' 

' Cadurcis Abbey, papa, is close to Cherbury,' said Venetia. 

' Cherbury ! ' said Herbert, with a faint blush. ' I have 
never seen it, and now I shall never see it. No matter, my 
country is your mother and yourself. Some find a home 
in their country, I find a country in my home. Well,' he 
added, in a gayer tone, 'it has gratified me much to meet 
Lord Cadurcis. We were happy before, but now we are 
even gay. I like to see you smile, Annabel, and hear 
Venetia laugh. I feel, myself, quite an unusual hilarity. 
Cadurcis ! It is very strange how often I have mused over 
that name. A year ago it was one of my few wishes to 
know him ; my wishes, then, dear Annabel, were not very 
ambitious. They did not mount so high as you have since 
permitted them. And now I do know him, and under what 
circumstances ! Is not life strange ? But is it not happy ? 
I feel it so. Good night, sweet wife ; my darling daughter, 
a happy, happy night ! ' He embraced them ere they re- 
tired ; and opening a volume composed his mind after the 
novel excitement of the evening. 



CHAPTER IV. 

CADURCIS left the brig early in the morning alone, and 
strolled towards the villa. He met Herbert half-way to 
Spezzia, who turned back with him towards home. They 
sat down on a crag opposite the sea ; there was a light 
breeze, the fishing boats were out, and the view was as 
animated as the fresh air was cheering. 

' There they go,' said Cadurcis, smiling, ' catching John 
Dory, as you and I try to catch John Bull. Now if these 
people could understand what two great men were watching 
them, how they would stare ! But they don't care a sprat 
for us, not they ! They are not part of the world the three 



414 VENETIA. 

or four thousand civilised savages for whom we sweat our 
brains, and whose fetid breath perfumed with musk is fame. 
Pah!' 

Herbert smiled. ' I have not cared much myself for this 
same world.' 

' Why, no ; you have done something, and shown your 
contempt for them. No one can deny that. I will some 
day, if I have an opportunity. I owe it them ; I think I 
can show them a trick or two still.* I have got a Damas- 
cus blade in store for their thick hides. I will turn their 
flank yet.' 

' And gain a victory where conquest brings no glory. 
You are worth brighter laurels, Lord Cadurcis.' 

' Now is not it the most wonderful thing in the world 
that you and I have met ? ' said Cadurcis. ' Now I look 
upon ourselves as something like, eh ! Fellows with some 
pith in them. By Jove, if we only joined together, how we 
could lay it on ! Crack, crack, crack ; I think I see them 
wincing under the thong, the pompous poltroons ! If you 
only knew how they behaved to me ! By Jove, sir, they 
hooted me going to the House of Lords, and nearly pulled 
me off my horse. The ruffians would have massacred me 
if they could ; and then they all ran away from a drummer- 
boy and a couple of grenadiers, who were going the rounds 
to change guard. Was not that good ?. Fine, eh ? A 
brutish mob in a fit of morality about to immolate a gentle- 
man, and then scampering off from a sentry. I call that 
human nature ! ' 

' As long as they leave us alone, and do not burn us alive, 
I am content,' said Herbert. ' I am callous to what they 
say.' 

' So am I,' said Cadurcis. ' I made out a list the other 
day of all the persons and things I have been compared to. 
It begins well, with Alcibiades, but it ends with the Swiss 
giantess or the Polish dwarf, I forget which. Here is your 

* I think I know a trick or two would turn 
Your flanks. Don Juan. 



VENETIA. 415 

book. You see it has been well thumbed. In fast, to tell 
the truth, it was my cribbing book, and I always kept it by 
me when I was writing at Athens, like a gradus, a gradus 
ad Parnassum, you know. But although I crib, I am candid, 
and you see I fairly own it to you.' 

' You are welcome to all I have ever written,' said Her- 
bert. ' Mine were but crude dreams. I wished to see man 
noble and happy ; but if he will persist in being vile and 
miserable, I must even be content. I can struggle for him 
no more.' 

' Well, you opened my mind,' said Cadurcis. ' I owe you 
everything; but I quite agree with you that nothing is 
worth an effort. As for philosophy and freedom, and all 
that, they tell devilish well in a stanza ; but men have 
always been fools and slaves, and fools and slaves they 
always will be.' 

' Nay,' said Herbert, ' I will not believe that. I will not 
give up a jot of my conviction of a great and glorious 
future for human destinies ; but its consummation will not 
be so rapid as I once thought, and in the meantime I die.' 

' Ah, death ! ' said Lord Cadurcis, ' that is a botherer. 
What can you make of death? There are those poor 
fishermen now ; there will be a white squall some day, and 
they will go down with those lateen sails of theirs, and be 
food for the very prey they were going to catch ; and if 
you continue living here, you may eat one of your neigh- 
bours in the shape of a shoal of red mullets, when it is the 
season. The great secret, we cannot penetrate that with 
all our philosophy, my dear Herbert. " All that we know 
is, nothing can be known." Barren, barren, barren! And 
yet what a grand world it is ! Look at this bay, these blue 
waters, the mountains, and these chestnuts, devilish fine! 
The fact is, truth is veiled, but, like the Shekinah over the 
tabernacle, the veil is of dazzling light ! ' 

' Life is the great wonder,' said Herbert, ' into which all 
that is strange and startling resolves itself. The mist of 
familiarity obscures from us the miracle of our being. 



416 VTENETIA. 

Mankind are constantly starting at events which they con- 
sider extraordinary. But a philosopher acknowledges only 
one miracle, and that is life. Political revolutions, changes 
of empire, wrecks of dynasties and the opinions that sup- 
port them, these are the marvels of the vulgar, but these 
are only transient modifications of life: The origin of 
existence is, therefore, the first object which a true philo- 
sopher proposes to himself. Unable to discover it, he 
accepts certain results from his unbiassed observation of 
its obvious nature, and on them he establishes certain 
principles to be our guides in all social relations, whether 
they take the shape of laws or customs. Nevertheless, 
until the principle of life be discovered, all theories and all 
systems of conduct founded on theory must be considered 
provisional.' 

' And do you believe that there is a chance of its being 
discovered ? ' inquired Cadurcis. 

' I cannot, from any reason in my own intelligence, find 
why it should not,' said Herbert. 

' You conceive it possible that a man may attain earthly 
immortality ? ' inquired Cadurcis. 

'Undoubtedly.' 

' By Jove,' said Cadurcis, ' if I only knew how, I would 
purchase an immense annuity directly.' 

' When I said undoubtedly,' said Herbert, smiling, ' I 
meant only to express that I know no invincible reason to 
the contrary. I see nothing inconsistent with the existence 
of a Supreme Creator in the annihilation of death. It 
appears to me an achievement worthy of his omnipotence. 
I believe in the possibility, but I believe in nothing more. 
I anticipate the final result, but not by individual means. 
It will, of course, be produced by some vast and silent and 
continuous operation of nature, gradually effecting some 
profound and comprehensive alteration in her order, a 
change of climate, for instance, the great enemy of life, so 
that the inhabitants of the earth may attain a patriarchal 
age. This renovated breed may in turn produce a still 



VENETIA. 417 

more vigorous offspring, and so we may ascend the scale, 
from the threescore and ten of the Psalmist to the immor- 
tality of 'which we speak. Indeed I, for my own part, be- 
lieve the operation has already commenced, although thou- 
sands of centuries may elapse before it is consummated ; 
the threescore and ten of the Psalmist is already obsolete ; 
the whole world is talking of the general change of its 
seasons and its atmosphere. If the origin of America were 
such as many profound philosophers suppose, viz. a sudden 
emersion of a new continent from the waves, it is impossible 
to doubt that such an event must have had a very great 
influence on the climate of the world. Besides, why should 
we be surprised that the nature of man should change ? 
Does not everything change ? Is not change the law of 
nature ? My skin changes every year, my hair never be- 
longs to me a month, the nail on my hand is only a passing 
possession. I doubt whether a man at fifty is the same 
material being that he is at five-and-twenty.' 

' I wonder,' said Lord Cadurcis, ' if a creditor brought an 
action against you at fifty for goods delivered at five-and- 
twenty, one could set up the want of identity as a plea in 
bar. It would be a consolation to an elderly gentleman,' 

' I am afraid mankind are too hostile to philosophy,' said 
Herbert, smiling, ' to permit so desirable a consummation.' 

' Should you consider a long life a blessing ? ' said Ca- 
durcis. ' Would you like, for instance, to live to the age of 
Methusalcm ? ' 

'Those whom the gods love die young,' said Herbert. 
1 For the last twenty years I have wished to die, and I have 
sought death. But my feelings, I confess, on that head are 
at present very much modified.' 

'Youth, glittering youth!' said Cadurcis in a musing 
tone ; ' I remember when the prospect of losing my youth 
frightened me out of my wits ; I dreamt of nothing but 
grey hairs, a paunch, and the gout or the gravel. But I 
fancy every period of life has its pleasures, and as we ad- 
vance in life the exercise of power and the possession of 

E E 



418 VENETIA. 

wealth mnst be great consolations to the majority ; we 
bully our children and hoard our cash.' 

'' Two most noble occupations ! ' said Herbert ; ' but I 
think in this world there is just as good a chance of being 
bullied by our children first, and paying their debts after- 
wards.' 

'Faith! you are right,' said Cadurcis, laughing, 'and 
lucky is he who has neither creditors nor offspring, and 
who owes neither money nor affection, after all the most 
difficult to pay of the two.' 

'It cannot be commanded, certainly,' said Herbert. 
' There is no usury for love.' 

' And yet it is very expensive, too, sometimes, said Ca- 
durcis, laughing. ' For my part, sympathy is a puzzler.' 

' You should read Cabanis,' said Herbert, ' if indeed, you 
have not. I think I may find it here ; I will lend it you. 
It has, from its subject, many errors, but it is very sugges- 
tive.' 

' Now, that is kind, for I have not a book here, and, after 
all, there is nothing like reading. I wish I had read more, 
but it is not too late. I envy you your learning, besides so 
many other things. However, I hope we shall not part in 
a hurry ; we have met at last,' he said, extending his hand, 
' and we were always friends.' 

Herbert shook his hand very warmly. 'I can assure 
you, Lord Cadurcis, you have not a more sincere admirer 
of your genius. I am happy in your society. For myself, 
I now aspire to be nothing better than an idler in life, 
turning over a page, and sometimes noting down a fancy. 
You have, it appears, known my family long and intimately, 
and you were, doubtless, surprised at finding me with them. 
I have returned to my hearth, and I am content. Once I 
sacrificed my happiness to my philosophy, and now I have 
sacrificed my philosophy to my happiness.' 

' Dear friend ! ' said Cadurcis, putting his arm affection- 
ately in Herbert's as they walked along, ' for, indeed, you 
must allow me to style you so ; all the happiness and all the 
sorrow of my life alike flow from your roof! ' 



VENETIA. 419 

In the meantime .Lady Annabel and Yenetia came forth 
from the villa to their morning meal in their amphitheatre 
of hills. Marmion was not there to greet them as usual. 

' Was not Plantagenet amusing last night ? ' said Vene- 
tia ; ' and are not you happy, dear mother, to see him once 
more? 

' Indeed I am now always happy,' said Lady Annabel. 

' And George was telling me last night, in this portico, 
of all their life. He is more attached to Plantagenet 
than ever. He says it is impossible for any one to have 
behaved with greater kindness, or to have led, in every 
sense, a more calm and rational life. When he was alone 
at Athens, he did nothing but write. George' says that 
all his former works are nothing to what he has written 
now.' 

' He is very engaging,' said Lady Annabel. 

' I think he will be such a delightful companion for papa. 
I am sure papa must like him. I hope he will stay some 
time ; for, after all, poor dear papa, he must require a little 
amusement besides our society. Instead of being with his 
books, he might be walking and talking with Plantagenet. 
I think, dearest mother, we shall be happier than ever ! ' 

At this moment Herbert, with Cadurcis leaning on his 
arm, and apparently speaking with great earnestness, ap- 
peared in the distance. ' There they are,' said Venetia ; 
' I knew they would be friends. Come, clearest mother, let 
us meet them.' 

' You see, Lady Annabel,' said Lord Cadurcis, ' it is just 
as I said : Mr. George is not here ; he is having tea and 
toast on board the brig.' 

' I do not believe it,' said Venetia, smiling. 

They seated themselves at the breakfast-table. 

4 You should have seen our Apennine breakfasts in the 

autumn, Lord Cadurcis,' said Herbert. 'Every fruit of 

nature seemed crowded before us. It was indeed a meal 

for a poet or a painter like Paul Veronese ; our grapes, our 

E E 2 



420 VENETIA. 

figs, our peaches, our mountain strawberries, they made a 
glowing picture. For my part, I have an original prejudice 
against animal food which I have never quite overcome, 
and I believe it is only to please Lady Annabel that I have 
relapsed into the heresy of cutlets.' 

' Do you think I have grown fatter, Lady Annabel ? ' said 
Lord Cadurcis, starting up ; 'I brought myself down at 
Athens to bread and olives, but I have been committing 
terrible excesses lately, but only fish.' 

' Ah ! here is George ! ' said Lady Annabel. 

And Captain Cadurcis appeared, followed by a couple of 
sailors, bearing a huge case. 

'George,' said Yenetia, 'I have been defending you 
against Plantagenet ; he said you would not come.' 

' Never mind, George, it was only behind your back,' 
said Lord Cadurcis ; ' and, under those legitimate circum- 
stances, why even our best friends cannot expect us to 
spare them.' 

'I have brought Venetia her toys,' said Captain Cadur- 
cis, ' and she was right to defend me, as I have been work- 
ing for her.' 

The top of the case was knocked off, and all the Turkish 
buffooneries, as Cadurcis called them. made their appearance: 
slippers, and shawls, and bottles of perfumes, and little 
hand mirrors, beautifully embroidered ; and fanciful dag- 
gers, and rosaries, and a thousand other articles, of which 
they had plundered the bazaars of Constantinople. 

' And here is a Turkish volume of poetry, beautifully 
illuminated ; and that is for you,' said Cadurcis giving it 
to Herbert. ' Perhaps it is a translation of one of our 
works. Who knows ? We can always say it is.' 

' This is the second present you have made me this 
morning. Here is a volume of my works,' said Herbert, 
producing the book that Cadurcis had before given him. 
' I never expected that anything I wrote would be so 
honoured. This, too, is the work of which I am the least 
ashamed for my wife admired it. There, Annabel, even 



VENETIA. 421 

though Lord Cadurcis is here, I will present it to you ; 'tis 
an old friend.' 

Lady Annabel accepted the book very graciously, and, in 
spite of all the temptations of her toys, Venetia could not 
refrain from peeping over her mother's shoulder at its con- 
tents. ' Mother,' she whispered, in a voice inaudible save 
to La,dy Annabel, ' I may read this! ' 

Lady Annabel gave it her. 

' And now we must send for Pauncefort, I think,' said 
Lady Annabel, ' to collect and take care of our treasures.' 

' Pauncefort,' said Lord Cadurcis, when that gentlewoman 
appeared, ' I have brought you a shawl, but I could not 
bring you a turban, because the Turkish ladies do not wear 
turbans ; but if I had thought we should have met so soon, 
I would have had one made on purpose for you.' 

' La ! my lord, you always are so polite ! ' 



CHAPTER V. 

WHEN the breakfast was over, they wandered about the 
valley, which Cadurcis could not sufficiently admire. Insen- 
sibly he drew Venetia from the rest of the party, on the pre- 
tence of showing her a view at some little distance. They 
walked along by the side of a rivulet, which glided through 
the hills, until they were nearly a mile from the villa, 
though still in sight. 

' Venetia,' he at length said, turning the conversation to a 
more interesting topic, ' your father and myself have disbur- 
thened our minds to each other this morning ; I think we 
know each other now as well as if we were as old acquaint- 
ances as myself and his daughter.' 

' Ah ! I knew that you and papa must agree,' said Venetia; 
' I was saying so this morning to my mother.' 

' Venetia,' said Cadurcis, with a laughing eye, ' all this is 
very strange, is it not ? ' 



422 VENETIA. 

' Very strange, indeed, Plantagenet ; I should not be sur- 
prised if it appeared to you as yet even incredible.' 

' It is miraculous,' said Cadurcis, ' but not incredible ; an 
angel interfered, and worked the miracle. I know all.' 

Venetia looked at him with a faint flush upon her cheek ; 
she gathered a flower and plucked it to pieces. 

' What a singular destiny ours has been, Venetia ! ' said 
Cadurcis. ' Do you know, I can sit for an hour together and 
muse over it.' 

' Can you, Plantagenet ? ' 

' I have such an extraordinary memory ; I do not think 
I ever forgot anything. We have had some remarkable con- 
versations in our time, eh, Venetia ? Do you remember 
my visit to Cherbury before I went to Cambridge, and the 
last time I saw you before I left England ? And now it all 
ends in this ! What do you think of it, Venetia ? ' 

Think of what, Plantagenet ? ' 

' Why, of this reconciliation ? ' 

' Dear Plantagenet, what can I think of it but what I have 
expressed, that it is a wonderful event, but the happiest in 
my life.' 

' You are quite happy now ? ' 

' Quite.' 

'I see you do not care for me the least.' 

' Plantagenet, you are perverse. Are you not here ? ' 

' Did you ever think of me when I was away? ' 

' You know very well, Plantagenet, that it is impossible 
for me to cease to be interested in you. Could I refrain from 
thinking of such a friend ? ' 

' Friend ! poh ! I am not your friend ; and, as for that, 
you never once mentioned my name to your father, Miss 
Venetia.' 

' You might easily conceive that there were reasons for 
such silence,' said Venetia. ' It could not arise on my part 
from forgetfulness or indifference ; for, even if my feelings 
were changed towards you, you are not a person that one 
would, or even could, avoid speaking of, especially to papa, 



VENETIA. 423 

who must have felt such interest in you ! I am sure, even 
if I had not known you, there were a thousand occasions 
which would have called your name to my lips, had they 
been uncontrolled by other considerations.' 

' Come, Venetia, I am not going to submit to compliments 
from you,' said Lord Cadurcis ; ' no blarney. I wish you 
only to think of me as you did ten years ago. I will not 
have our hearts polluted by the vulgarity of fame. I want 
you to feel for me as you did when we were children. I will 
not be an object of interest, and admiration, and fiddlestick 
to you ; I will not submit to it.' 

' Well, you shall not,' said Venetia, laughing. ' I will not 
admire you the least ; I will only think of you as a good 
little boy.' 

'You do not love me any longer, I see that,' said Ca- 
durcis. 

' Yes I do, Plantagenet.' 

' You do not love me so much as you did the night be- 
fore I went to Eton, and we sat over the fire ? Ah ! how 
often I have thought of that night when I was at Athens ! ' 
he added in a tone of emotion. 

' Dear Plantagenet,' said Venetia, ' do not be silly. I am 
in the highest spirits in the world ; I am quite gay with 
happiness, and all because you have returned. Do not spoil 
my pleasure.' 

' Ah, Venetia ! I see how it is ; you have forgotten me, or 
worse than forgotten me.' 

' Well, I am sure I do not know what to say to satisfy 
you,' said Venetia. ' I think you very unreasonable, and very 
ungrateful too, for I have always been your friend, Planta- 
genet, and I am sure you know it. You sent me a message 
before you went abroad.' 

'Darling!' said Lord Cadurcis, seizing her hand, 'I am 
not ungrateful, I am not unreasonable. I adore you. You 
were very kind then, when all the world was against me. 
You shall see how I will pay them off, the dogs ! and worse 
than dogs, their betters far ; dogs are faithful. Do you 



424 VENETIA. 

remember poor old Marmion ? How we were mystified, 
Venetia ! Little did we think then who was Marmion's 
godfather.' 

Yenetia smiled ; but she said, ' I do not like this bitter- 
ness of yours, Plantagenet. You have no cause to com- 
plain of the world, and you magnify a petty squabble with 
a contemptible coterie into a quarrel with a nation. It is 
not a wise humour, and, if you indulge it, it will not be a 
happy one.' 

' I will do exactly what you wish on every subject,' said 
Cadurcis, ' if you will do exactly what I wish on one.' 

' Well ! ' said Venetia. 

' Once you told me,' said Cadurcis, ' that you would not 
marry me without the consent of your father ; then, most 
unfairly, you added to your conditions the consent of your 
mother. Now both your parents are very opportunely at 
hand ; let us fall down upon our knees, and beg their bless- 
ing.' 

' ! my dear Plantagenet, I think it will be much better 
for me never to marry. We are both happy now ; let us re- 
main so. Tou can live here, and I can be your sister. Will 
not that do ? ' 

' No, Venetia, it will not.' 

' Dear Plantagenet ! ' said Venetia with a faltering voice, 
' if you knew how much I had suffered, dear Plantagenet ! ' 

'I know it; I know all,' said Cadurcis, taking her arm 
and placing it tenderly in his. ' Now listen to me, sweet 
girl ; I loved you when a child, when I was unknown to the 
world, and unknown to myself ; I loved you as a youth not 
utterly inexperienced in the world, and when my rising 
passions had taught me to speculate on the character of 
women ; I loved you as a man, Venetia, with that world at 
my feet, that world which I scorn, but which I will com- 
mand ; I have been constant, Venetia ; your heart assures 
you of that. You are the only being in existence who exer- 
cises over me any influence ; and the influence you possess 
is irresistible and eternal. It springs from some deep and 



VENETIA. 425 

mysterious sympathy of blood which I cannot penetrate. 
It can neither be increased nor diminished by time. It is 
entirely independent of its action. I pretend not to love you 
more at this moment than when I first saw you, when you 
entered the terrace-room at Cherbury and touched my 
cheek. From that moment I was yours. I declare to you, 
most solemnly I declare to you, that I know not what love 
is except to you. The world has called me a libertine ; the 
truth is, no other woman can command my spirit for an 
hour. I see through them at a glance. I read all their 
weakness, frivolity, vanity, affectation, as if they were 
touched by the revealing rod of Asmodeus. You were born 
to be my bride. Unite yourself with me, control my destiny, 
and my course shall be like the sun of yesterday ; but reject 
me, reject me, and I devote all my energies to the infernal 
gods ; I will pour my lava over the earth until all that re- 
mains of my fatal and exhausted nature is a black and 
barren cone surrounded by bitter desolation.' 

' Plantagenet, be calm ! ' 

' I am perfectly calm, Venetia. You talk to me of your 
sufferings. What has occasioned them ? A struggle against 
nature. Nature has now triumphed, and you are happy. 
What necessity was there for all this misery that has fallen 
on your house ? Why is your father an exile ? Do not you 
think that if your mother had chosen to exert her influence 
she might have prevented the most fatal part of his career ? 
Undoubtedly despair impelled his actions as much as philo- 
sophy, though I give him credit for a pure and lofty spirit, 
to no man more. But not a murmur against your mother 
from me. She received my overtures of reconciliation last 
night with more than cordiality. She is your mother, 
Venetia, and she once was mine. Indeed, I love her ; in- 
deed, you would find that I would study her happiness. 
For after all, sweet, is there another woman in existence 
better qualified to fill the position of my mother-in-law ? I 
could not behave unkindly to her ; I could not treat her with 
neglect or harshness ; not merely for the sake of her many 



426 VENETIA. 

admirable qualities, but from other considerations, Venetia, 
considerations we never can forget. By heavens ! I love your 
mother ; I do, indeed, Venetia ! I remember so many things ; 
her last words to me when I went to Eton. If she would 
only behave kindly to me, you would see what a son-in-law 
I should make. You would be jealous, that you should, 
Venetia. I can bear anything from you, Venetia, but, with 
others, I cannot forget who I am. It makes me bitter to 
be treated as Lady Annabel treated me last year in London: 
but a smile and a kind word and I recall all her maternal 
love ; I do indeed, Venetia ; last night when she was kind I 
could have kissed her ! ' 

Poor Venetia could not answer, her tears were flowing 
so plenteously. ' I have told your father all, sweetest,' said 
Cadurcis ; ' I concealed nothing.' 

' And what said he ? ' murmured Venetia. 

' It rests with your mother. After all that has passed, he 
will not attempt to control your fate. And he is right. 
Perhaps his interference in my favour might even injure me. 
But there is no cause for despair ; all I wanted was to come 
to an understanding with you ; to be sure you loved me p,s 
you always have done. I will not be impatient. I will do 
everything to soothe and conciliate and gratify Lady An- 
nabel ; you will see how I will behave ! As you say, too, 
we are happy because we are together ; and, therefore, it 
would be unreasonable not to be patient. I never can be 
sufficiently grateful for this meeting. I concluded you 
would be in England, though we were on our way to Milan 
to inquire after you. George has been a great comfort to 
me in all this affair, Venefcia ; he loves you, Venetia, almost 
as much as I do. I think I should have gone mad during 
that cursed afiair in England, had it not been for George. 
1 thought you would hate me ; but, when George brought me 
your message, I cared for nothing ; and then his visit to the 
lake was so devilish kind! He is a noble fellow and a 
true friend. My sweet, sweet Venetia, dry your eyes. Let 
us rejoin them with a smile. We have not been long away. 



VENETIA. 427 

I will pretend we have been violet hunting,' said Cadurcis, 
stooping down and plucking up a handful of flowers. ' Do 
you remember our violets at home, Venetia ? Do you know, 
Venetia, I always fancy every human being is like some ob- 
ject in nature ; and you always put me in mind of a violet, 
so fresh and sweet and delicate ! ' 



CHAPTER VI. 

' WE have been exploring the happy valley,' said Lord 
Cadurcis to Lady Annabel, ' and here is our plunder,' and 
he gave her the violets. 

' You were always fond of flowers,' said Lady Annabel. 

' Yes, I imbibed the taste from you,' said Cadurcis, grati- 
fied by the gracious remark. 

He seated himself at her feet, examined and admired her 
work, and talked of old times, but with such infinite dis- 
cretion, that he did not arouse a single painful association. 
Venetia was busied with her father's poems, and smiled 
often at the manuscript notes of Cadurcis. Lying, as usual, 
on the grass, and leaning his head on his left arm, Herbert 
was listening to Captain Cadurcis, who was endeavouring 
to give him a clear idea of the Bosphorus. Thus the morn- 
ing wore away, until the sun drove them into the villa. 

' I will show you my library, Lord Cadurcis,' said Her- 
bert. 

Cadurcis followed him into a spacious apartment, where 
he found a collection so considerable that he could not sup- 
press his surprise. ' Italian spoils chiefly,' said Herbert ; 'a 
friend of mine purchased an old library at Bologna for me, 
and it turned out richer than I imagined : the rest are old 
friends that have been with me, many of them at least, at 
college. I brought them back with me from America, for 
then they were my only friends.' 

' Can you find Cabanis ? ' said Lord Cadurcis. 



428 VENETIA. 

Herbert looked about. ' It is in this neighbourhood, I 
imagine,' he said. Cadurcis endeavoured to assist him. 
'What is this? ' he said; 'Plato!' 

' I should like to read Plato at Athens,' said Herbert. 
' My ambition now does not soar beyond such elegant 
fortune.' 

' We are all under great obligations to Plato,' said Ca- 
durcis. ' I remember, when I was in London, I always 
professed myself his disciple, and it is astonishing what 
results I experienced. Platonic love was a great invention.' 

Herbert smiled ; but, as he saw Cadurcis knew nothing 
about the subject, he made no reply. 

' Plato says, or at least I think he says, that life is love,' 
said Cadurcis. ' I have said it myself in a very grand way 
too ; I believe I cribbed it from you. But what does he 
mean ? I am sure I meant nothing ; but I dare say yon did.' 

' I certainly had some meaning,' said Herbert, stopping 
in his search, and smiling, ' but I do not know whether I 
expressed it. The principle of every motion, that is of all 
life, is desire or love : at present, I am in love with the lost 
volume of Cabanis, and, if it were not for the desire of ob- 
taining it, I should not now be affording any testimony of 
my vitality by looking after it.' 

' That is very clear,' said Cadurcis, ' but I was thinking 
of love in the vulgar sense, in the shape of a petticoat. 
Certainly, when I am in love with a woman, I feel love is 
life ; but, when I am out of love, which often happens, and 
generally very soon, I still contrive to live.' 

' We exist,' said Herbert, ' because we sympathise. If 
we did not sympathise with the air, we should die. But, 
if we only sympathised with the air, we should be in the 
lowest order of brutes, baser than the sloth. Mount from 
the sloth to the poet. It is sympathy that makes you a 
poet. It is your desire that the airy children of your brain 
should be born anew within another's, that makes you 
create ; therefore, a misanthropical poet is a contradiction 
in terms.' 



VENETIA. 429 

' But when he writes a lampoon ?' said Cadurcis. 

'He desires that the. majority, who are not lampooned, 
should share his hate,' said Herhert. 

'But Swift lampooned the species,' said Cadurcis. 'For 
my part, I think life is hatred.' 

' But Swift was not sincere, for he wrote the Drapier's 
Letters at the same time. Besides, the very fact of your 
abusing mankind proves that you do not hate them ; it is 
clear that you are desirous of obtaining their good opinion 
of your wit. You value them, you esteem them, you love 
them. Their approbation causes you to act, and makes you 
happy. As for sexual love,' said Herbert, 'of which you 
were speaking, its quality and duration depend upon the 
degree of sympathy that subsists between the two persons 
interested. Plato believed, and I believe with him, in the 
existence of a spiritual antitype of the soul, so that when 
we are born, there is something within us which, from the 
instant we live and move, thirsts after its likeness. This 
propensity develops itself with the development of our 
nature. The gratification of the senses soon becomes a 
very small part of that profound and complicated sentiment, 
which we call love. Love, on the contrary, is an universal 
thirst for a communion, not merely of the senses, but of our 
whole nature, intellectual, imaginative, and sensitive. He 
who finds his antitype, enjoys a love perfect and enduring ; 
time cannot change it, distance cannot remove it ; the sym- 
pathy is complete. He who loves an object that approaches 
his antitype, is proportionately happy, the sympathy is feeble 
or strong, as it may be. If men were properly educated, 
and their faculties fully developed,' continued Herbert, 'the 
discovery of the antitype would be easy ; and, when the day 
arrives that it is a matter of course, the perfection of civili- 
sation will be attained.' 

'I believe in Plato,' said Lord Cadurcis, 'and I think I 
have found my antitype. His theory accounts for what I 
never could understand.' 



430 VENETIA. 



CHAPTER VII. 

IN the course of the evening Lady Annabel requested Lord 
Cadurcis and his cousin to take up their quarters at the 
villa. Independent of the delight which such an invitation 
occasioned him, Cadurcis was doubly gratified by its being 
given by her. It was indeed her unprompted solicitation ; 
for neither Herbert nor even Yenetia, however much they 
desired the arrangement, was anxious to appear eager for 
its fulfilment. Desirous of pleasing her husband and her 
daughter ; a little penitent as to her previous treatment of 
Cadurcis, now that time and strange events had combined 
to soften her feelings ; and won by his engaging demeanour 
towards herself, Lady Annabel had of mere impulse re- 
solved upon the act ; and she was repaid by the general 
air of gaiety and content which it diffused through the 
circle. 

Few weeks indeed passed ere her ladyship taught herself 
even to contemplate the possibility of an union between 
her daughter and Lord Cadurcis. The change which had 
occurred in her own feelings and position had in her esti- 
mation removed very considerable barriers to such a result. 
It would not become her again to urge the peculiarity of 
his temperament as an insuperable objection to the marriage ; 
that was out of the question, even if the conscience of Lady 
Annabel herself, now that she was so happy, were perfectly 
free from any participation in the causes which occasioned 
the original estrangement between Herbert and herself. 
Desirous too, as all mothers are, that her daughter should 
be suitably married, Lady Annabel could not shut her eyes 
to the great improbability of such an event occurring, now 
that Venetia had, as it were, resigned all connection with 
her native country. As to her daughter marrying a 
foreigner, the very idea was intolerable to her ; and Venetia 
appeared therefore to have resumed that singular and deli- 
cate position which she occupied at Cherbury in earlier 



VENETIA. 431 

years, when Lady Annabel had esteemed her connection 
with Lord Cadurcis so fortunate and auspicious. Moreover, 
while Lord Cadurcis, in birth, rank, country, and considera- 
tion, offered in every view of the case so gratifying an alli- 
ance, he was perhaps the only Englishman whose marriage 
into her family would not deprive her of the society of her 
child. Cadurcis had a great distaste for England, which 
he seized every opportunity to express. He continually 
declared that he would never return there ; and his habits 
of seclusion and study so entirely accorded with those of 
her husband, that Lady Annabel did not doubt they would 
continue to form only one family : a prospect so engaging 
to her, that it would perhaps have alone removed the dis- 
trust which she had so unfortunately cherished against the 
admirer of her daughter ; and although some of his reputed 
opinions occasioned her doubtless considerable anxiety, he 
was nevertheless very young, and far from emancipated 
from the beneficial influence of his early education. She 
was sanguine that this sheep would yet return to the fold 
where once he had been tended with so much solicitude. 
"When too she called to mind the chastened spirit of her 
husband, and could not refrain from feeling that, had she 
not quitted him, he might at a much earlier period have 
attained a mood so full of promise and to her so cheering, 
she could not resist the persuasion that, under the influence 
of Venetia, Cadurcis might speedily free himself from the 
dominion of that arrogant genius to which, rather than to 
any serious conviction, the result of a studious philosophy, 
she attributed his indifference on the most important of 
subjects. On the whole, however, i was with no common 
gratification that Lady Annabel observed the strong and 
intimate friendship that arose between her husband and 
Cadurcis. They were inseparable companions. Indepen- 
dently of the natural sympathy between two highly ima- 
ginative minds, there were in the superior experience, the 
noble character, the vast knowledge, and refined taste of 
Herbert, charms of which Cadurcis was very, susceptible. 



432 VENETIA. 

Cadurcis had not been a great reader himself, and he liked 
the company of one whose mind was at once so richly cul- 
tured and so deeply meditative : thus he obtained matter 
and spirit distilled through the alembic of another's brain. 
Jealousy had never had a place in Herbert's temperament ; 
now he was insensible even to emulation. He spoke of 
Cadurcis as he thought, with the highest admiration ; as 
one without a rival, and in whose power it was to obtain 
an imperishable fame. It was his liveliest pleasure to assist 
the full development of such an intellect, and to pour to 
him, with a lavish hand, all the treasures of his taste, his 
learning, his fancy, and his meditation. His kind heart, 
his winning manners, his subdued and perfect temper, and 
the remembrance of the relation which he bore to Venetia, 
completed the spell which bound Cadurcis to him with all 
the finest feelings of his nature. It was, indeed, an inter- 
course peculiarly beneficial to Cadurcis, whose career had 
hitherto tended rather to the development of the power, 
than the refinement of his genius ; and to whom an active 
communion with an equal spirit of a more matured intelli- 
gence was an incident rather to be desired than expected. 
Herbert and Cadurcis, therefore, spent their mornings to- 
gether, sometimes in the library, sometimes wandering in 
the chestnut woods, sometimes sailing in the boat of the 
brig, for they were both fond of the sea : in these excur- 
sions, George was in general their companion. He had 
become a great favourite with Herbert, as with everybody 
else. No one managed a boat so well, although Cadurcis 
prided himself also on liis skill in this respect ; and George 
was so frank and unaffected, and so used to his cousin's 
habits, that his presence never embarrassed Herbert and 
Cadurcis, and they read or conversed quite at their ease, as 
if there were no third person to mar, by his want of sym- 
pathy, the full communion of their intellect. The whole 
circle met at dinner, and never again parted until at a late 
hour of night. This was a most agreeable life ; Cadurcis 
himself, good humoured because he was happy, doubly 



VENETIA. 433 

exerted himself to ingratiate himself with Lady Annabel, 
and felt every day that he was advancing. Venetia always 
smiled upon him, and praised him delightfully for his de- 
lightful conduct. 

In the evening, Herbert would read to them the manu- 
script poem of Cadurcis, the fruits of his Attic residence 
and Grecian meditations. The poet would sometimes affect 
a playful bashfulness on this head, perhaps not altogether 
affected, and amuse Venetia, in a whisper, with his running 
comments ; or exclaim with an arch air, ' I say, Venetia, 
what would Mrs. Montague and the Blues give for this, eh ? 
I can fancy Hannah More in decent ecstasies ! ' 



CHAPTER VIII. 

' IT is an odd thing, my dear Herbert,' said Cadurcis to his 
friend, in one of these voyages, ' that destiny should have 
given you and me the same tutor.' 

' Masham ! ' said Herbert, smiling. ' I tell you what is 
much more singular ,^my dear Cadurcis ; it is, that, notwith- 
standing being our tutor, a mitre should have fallen upon 
his head.' 

' I am heartily glad,' said Cadurcis. 'I like Masham very 
much ; I really have a sincere affection for him. Do you 
know, during my infernal affair about those accursed Mont- 
eagles, when I went to the House of Lords, and was cut 
even by my own party ; think of that, the polished ruffians ! 
Masham was the only person who came forward and shook 
hands with me, and in the most marked manner. A bishop, 
too ! and the other side ! that was good, was it not ? But 
he would not see his old pupil snubbed ; if he had waited 
ten minutes longer, he might have had a chance of seeing 
him massacred. And then they complain of my abusing 
England, my mother country ; a step-dame, I take it.' 

' Masham is in politics a Tory, in religion ultra-orthodox,' 
said Herbert. 'He has nothing about him of the latitudi- 

F F 



434 VENETIA. 

narian ; and yet he is the most amiable man with whom I 
am acquainted. Nature has given him a kind and chari T 
table heart, which even his opinions have not succeeded in 
spoiling.' 

' Perhaps that is exactly what he is saying of us two at 
this moment,' said Cadurcis. ' After all, what is truth ? It 
changes as you change you clime or your country ; it 
changes with the century. The truth of a hundred years 
ago is not the truth of the present day, and yet it may have 
been as genuine. Truth at Rome is not the truth of Lon- 
don, and both of them differ from the truth of Constanti- 
nople. For my part, I believe everything.' 

' Well, that is practically prudent, if it be metaphysically 
possible,' said Herbert. ' Do you know that I have always 
been of opinion, that Pontius Pilate has been greatly mis- 
represented by Lord Bacon in the quotation of his celebrated 
question. ' What is truth ?' said jesting Pilate, and would 
not wait for an answer. Let us be just to Pontius Pilate, 
who has sins enough surely to answer for. There is no 
authority for the jesting humour given by Lord Bacon. 
Pilate was evidently of a merciful and clement disposition ; 
probably an Epicurean. His question referred to a declara- 
tion immediately preceding it, that He who was before him 
came to bear witness to the truth. Pilate inquired what 
truth? ' 

' Well, I always have a prejudice against Pontius Pilate,' 
said Lord Cadurcis ; ' and I think it is from seeing him, 
when I was a child, on an old Dutch tile fireplace at Mar- 
ringhurst, dressed like a burgomaster. One cannot get 
over one's early impressions ; but when you picture him to 
me as an Epicurean, he assumes a new character. I fancy 
him young, noble, elegant, and accomplished ; crowned with 
a wreath and waving a goblet, and enjoying his government 
vastly.' 

' Before the introduction of Christianity,' said Herbert, 
' the philosophic schools answered to our present religious 
sects. You said of a man that he was a Stoic or an Epicu- 



VENETIA. 435 

reaii, as you say of a man now that lie is a Calvinist or a 
Wesleyan.' 

' I should have liked to have known Epicurus,' said Ca- 
durcis. 

' I would sooner have known him and Plato than any of 
the ancients,' said Herbert. ' I look upon Plato as the 
wisest and the profoundest of men, and upon Epicurus as 
the most humane and gentle.' 

' Now, how do you account for the great popularity of 
Aristotle in modern ages ?' said Cadurcis ; ' and the com- 
parative neglect of these, at least his equals ? Chance, I 
suppose, that settles everything.' 

'By no means,' said Herbert. 'If you mean by chance 
an absence of accountable cause, I do not believe such a 
quality as chance exists. Every incident that happens, 
must be a link in a chain. In the present case, the monks 
monopolised literature, such as it might be, and they exer- 
cised their intellect only in discussing words. They, there- 
fore, adopted Aristotle and the Peripatetics. Plato inter- 
fered with their heavenly knowledge, and Epicurus, who 
maintained the rights of man to pleasure and happiness, 
would have afforded a dangerous and seducing contrast to 
their dark and miserable code of morals.' 

' I think, of the ancients,' said Cadurcis ; ' Alcibiades and 
Alexander the Great are my favourites. They were young, 
beautiful, and conquerors ; a great combination.' 

' And among the moderns ? ' inquired Herbert. 

' They don't touch my fancy,' said Cadurcis. ' Who are 
your heroes ? ' 

' Oh ! I have many ; but I confess I should like to pass a 
day with Milton, or Sir Philip Sidney.' 

' Among mere literary men,' said Cadurcis, ' I should say 
Bayle.' 

'And old Montaigne for me,' said Herbert. 

' Well, I would fain visit him in his feudal chateau,' said 
Cadurcis. ' His is one of the books which give a spring to 
the mind. Of modern times, the feudal ages of Italy most 
r F 2 



436 VENETIA. 

interest me. I think that was a springtide of civilisation ; 
all the fine arts flourished at the same moment.' 

'They ever will,' said Herbert. 'All the inventive arts 
maintain a sympathetic connection between each other, for, 
after all, they are only various expressions of one internal 
power, modified by different circumstances either of the 
individual or of society. It was so in the age of Pericles ; 
I mean the interval which intervened between the birth of 
that great man and the death of Aristotle ; undoubtedly, 
whether considered in itself, or with reference to the effects 
which it produced upon the subsequent destinies of civilised 
man, the most memorable in the history of the world.' 

'And yet the age of Pericles has passed away,' said Lord 
Cadurcis mournfully, 'and 1 have gazed upon the mouldering 
Parthenon. Herbert ! you are a great thinker and muse 
deeply ; solve me the problem why so unparalleled a pro- 
gress was made during that period in literature and the arts, 
and why that progress, so rapid and so sustained, so soon 
received a check and became retrograde ? ' 

'It is a problem left to the wonder and conjecture of 
posterity,' said Herbert. ' But its solution, perhaps, may 
principally be found in the weakness of their political insti- 
tutions. Nothing of the Athenians remains except their 
genius ; but they fulfilled their purpose. The wrecks and 
fragments of their subtle and profound minds obscurely 
suggest to us the grandeur and perfection of the whole. 
Their language excels every other tongue of the Western 
world ; their sculptures baffle all subsequent artists ; credible 
witnesses assure us that their paintings were not inferior ; 
and we are only accustomed to consider the painters of 
Italy as those who have brought the art to its highest per- 
fection, because none of the ancient pictures have been 
preserved. Yet of all their fine arts, it was music of which 
the Greeks were themselves most proud. Its traditionary 
effects were far more powerful than any which we experience 
from the compositions of our times. And now for their 
poetry, Cadurcis. It is in poetry, and poetry alone, that 



VENETIA. 437 

modern nations have maintained the majesty of genius. Do 
we equal the Greeks ? Do we even excel them ? ' 

'Let us prove the equality first,' said Cadurcis. 'The 
Greeks excelled in every species of poetry. In some we do 
not even attempt to rival them. "We have not a single 
modern ode, or a single modern pastoral. We have no one 
to place by Pindai', or the exquisite Theocritus. As for the 
epic, I confess myself a heretic as to Homer ; I look upon 
the Iliad as a remnant of national songs ; the wise ones 
agree that the Odyssey is the work of a later age. My 
instinct agrees with the result of their researches. I credit 
their conclusion. The Paradise Lost is, doubtless, a great 
production, but the subject is monkish. Dante is national, 
but he has all the faults of a barbarous age. In general the 
modern epic is framed upon the assumption that the Iliad is 
an orderly composition. They are indebted for this fallacy 
to Virgil, who called order out of chaos ; but the ^Bneid, all 
the same, appears to me an insipid creation. And now for 
the drama. You will adduce Shakspeare ? ' 

' There are passages in Dante,' said Herbert, ' not inferior, 
in my opinion, to any existing literary composition, but, as 
a whole, I will not make my stand on him ; I am not so 
clear that, as a lyric poet, Petrarch may not rival the Greeks. 
Shakspeare I esteem of ineffable merit.' 

' And who is Shakspeare ? ' said Cadurcis. ' We know of 
him as much as we do of Homer. Did he write half the 
plays attributed to him ? Did he ever write a single whole 
play ? I doubt it. He appears to me to have been an 
inspired adapter for the theatres, which were then not as 
good as barns. I take him to have been a botcher up of 
old plays. His popularity is of modern date, and it may not 
last ; it would have surprised him marvellously. Heaven 
knows, at present, all that bears his name is alike admired ; 
and a regular Shaksperian falls into ecstasies with trash which 
deserves a niche in the Dunciad. For my part, I abhor your 
irregular geniuses, and I love to listen to the little nightin- 
gale of Twickenham.' 



438 VENETIA. 

' I have often observed,' said Herbert, ' that writers of an 
unbridled imagination themselves, admire those whom the 
world, erroneously, in my opinion, and from a confusion of 
ideas, esteems correct. I am myself an admirer of Pope, 
though I certainly should not ever think of classing him 
among the great creative spirits. And you, you are the last 
poet in the world, Cadurcis, whom one would have fancied 
his votary.' 

' I have written like a boy,' said Cadurcis. ' I found the 
public bite, and so I baited on with tainted meat. I have 
never written for fame, only for notoriety; but I am 
satiated ; I am going to turn over a new leaf.' 

Tor myself,' said Herbert, ' if I ever had the power to 
impress my creations on my fellow-men, the inclination is 
gone, and perhaps the faculty is extinct. My career is 
over ; perhaps a solitary echo from my lyre may yet, at 
times, linger about the world like a breeze that has lost 
its way. But there is a radical fault in my poetic mind, 
and I am conscious of it. I am not altogether void of 
the creative faculty, but mine is a fragmentary mind ; I 
produce no whole. Unless you do this, you cannot last ; 
at least, you cannot materially affect your species. But 
what I admire in you, Cadurcis, is that, with all the faults 
of youth, of which you will free yourself, your creative 
power is vigorous, prolific, and complete ; your creations 
rise fast and fair, like perfect worlds.' 

' "Well, we will not compliment each other,' said Cadur- 
cis; 'for, after all, it is a miserable craft. What is poetry 
but a lie, and what are poets but liars ? ' 

' You are wrong, Cadurcis,' said Herbert, ' poets are the 
unacknowledged legislators of the world.' 

' I see the towers of Porto Venere,' said Cadurcis direct- 
ing the sail ; ' we shall soon be on shore. I think, too, I 
recognise Venetia. Ah ! my dear Herbert, your daughter 
is a poem that beats all our inspiration ! ' 



VENETIA. 439 



CHAPTER IX. 

ONE circumstance alone cast a gloom over this happy 
family, and that was the approaching departure of Captain 
Cadurcis for England. This had been often postponed, but 
it could be postponed no longer. Not even the entreaties 
of those kind friends could any longer prevent what was 
inevitable. The kind heart, the sweet temper, and the 
lively and companionable qualities of Captain Cadurcis, had 
endeared him to everyone ; all felt that his departure would 
occasion a blank in their life, impossible to be supplied. It 
reminded the Herberts also painfully of their own situation, 
in regard to their native country, which they were ever 
unwilling to dwell upon. George talked of returning to 
them, but the prospect was necessarily vague ; they felt 
that it was only one of those fanciful visions with which an 
affectionate spirit attempts to soothe the pang of separa- 
tion. His position, his duties, all the projects of his life, 
bound him to England, from which, indeed, he had been 
too long absent. It was selfish to wish that, for their 
sakes, he should sink down into a mere idler in Italy ; and 
yet, when they recollected how little his future life could 
be connected with their own, everyone felt dispirited. 

' I shall not go boating to-day,' said George to Yenetia ; 
' it is my last day. Mr. Herbert and Plantagenet talk of 
going to Lavenza ; let us take a stroll together.' 

Nothing can be refused to those we love on the last day, 
and Venetia immediately acceded to his request. In the 
course of the morning, therefore, herself and George quitted 
the valley, in the direction of the coast towards Genoa. 
Many a white sail glittered on the blue waters ; it was a 
lively and cheering scene; but both Venetia and her 
companion were depressed. 

'I ought to be happy,' said George, and sighed. 'The 
fondest wish of my heart is attained. You remember our 



440 VENETIA. 

conversation on the Lago Maggiore, Venetia ? You see I 
was a prophet, and you will be Lady Cadurcis yet.' 

' We must keep up our spirits,' said Venetia ; ' I do not 
despair of our all returning to England yet. So many 
wonders have happened, that I cannot persuade myself that 
this marvel will not also occur. I am sure my uncle will 
do something ; I have a secret idea that the Bishop is all 
this time working for papa ; I feel assured I shall see 
Cherbury and Cadurcis again, and Cadurcis will be your 
home.' 

' A year ago you appeared dying, and Plantagenet was 
the most miserable of men,' said Captain Cadurcis. 'You 
are both now perfectly well and perfectly happy, living 
even under the same roof, soon, I feel, to be united, and 
with the cordial approbation of Lady Annabel. Your 
father is restored to you. Every blessing in the world 
seems to cluster round your roof. It is selfish for me to 
wear a gloomy countenance.' 

' Ah ! dear George, you never can be selfish,' said 
Venetia. 

'Yes, I am selfish, Venetia. What else can make me 
sad?' 

' You know how much you contribute to our happiness,' 
said Venetia, 'and you feel for our sufferings at your 
absence.' 

'No, Venetia, I feel for myself,' said Captain Cadurcis 
with energy ; ' I am certain that I never can be happy, 
except in your society and Plantagenet's. I cannot express 
to you how I love you both. Nothing else gives me the 
slightest interest.' 

' You must go home and marry,' said Venetia, smiling. 
' You must marry an heiress.' 

' Never,' said Captain Cadurcis. ' Nothing shall ever 
induce me to marry. No ! all my dreams are confined to 
being the bachelor uncle of the family.' 

' Woll, now I think,' said Venetia, ' of all the persons I 
know, there is no one so qualified for domestic happiness as 



VENETIA. 441 

yourself. I think your wife, George, would be a very 
fortunate woman, and I only wish I had a sister, that you 
might marry her.' 

' I wish you had, Venetia ; I would give up my resolu- 
tion against marriage directly.' 

' Alas ! ' said Venetia, ' there is always some bitter drop 
in the cup of life. Must you indeed go, George ? ' 

' My present departure is inevitable,' he replied ; ' but I 
have some thoughts of giving up my profession and 
Parliament, and then I will return, never to leave you 
again.' 

' What will Lord say ? That will never do,' said 

Venetia. ' No ; I should not be content unless you prospered 
in the world, George. You are made to prosper, and I 
should be miserable if you sacrificed your existence to us. 
You must go home, and you must marry, and write letters 
to us by every post, and tell us what a happy man you are. 
The best thing for you to do would be to live with your 
wife at the abbey ; or Cherbury, if you liked. You see I 
settle everything.' 

'I never will marry,' said Captain Cadurcis, seriously. 

' Yes you will,' said Venetia. 

' I am quite serious, Venetia. Now, mark my words, 
and remember this day. I never will marry. I have a 
reason, and a strong and good one, for my resolution.' 

* What is it ? ' 

' Because my marriage will destroy the intimacy that 
subsists between me and yourself, and Plantagenet,' he 
added. 

' Your wife should be my friend,' said Venetia. 

' Happy woman ! ' said George. 

' Let us indulge for a moment in a dream of domestic 
bliss,' said Venetia gaily. ' Papa and mamma at Cherbury; 
Plantagenet and myself at the abbey, where you and your 
wife must remain until we could build you a house ; and 
Dr. Mashani coming down to spend Christmas with us. 
Would it not be delightful ? I only hope Plantagenet 



442 VENETIA. 

would be tame. I think he would burst out a little some- 
times.' 

' Not with you, Venetia, not with you,' said George ; 
' you have a hold over him which nothing can ever shake. 
I could always put him in an amiable mood in an instant 
by mentioning your name.' 

' I wish you knew the abbey, George,' said Venetia. ' It 
is the most interesting of all old places. I love it. You 
must promise me when you arrive in England to go on a 
pilgrimage to Cadurcis and Cherbury, and write me a 
long account of it.' 

' I will indeed ; I will write to you very often.' 

' You shall find me a most faithful correspondent, which, 
I dare say, Plantagenet would not prove.' 

' Oh ! I beg your pardon,' said George; 'you have no 
idea of the quantity of letters he wrote me when he first 
quitted England. And such delightful ones ! I do not 
think there is a more lively letter- writer in the world ! 
His descriptions are so vivid; a few touches give you 
a complete picture ; and then his observations, they are so 
playful ! I assure you there is nothing in the world more 
easy and diverting than a letter from Plantagenet.' 

' If you could only see his first letter from Eton to me ? ' 
said Venetia. ' I have alsvays treasured it. It certainly 
was not very diverting ; and, if by easy you mean easy to 
decipher,' she added laughing, ' his handwriting must have 
improved very much, lately. Dear Plantagenet, I am 
always afraid I never pay him sufficient respect ; that I do 
not feel sufficient awe in his presence ; but I cannot dis- 
connect him from the playfellow of my infancy ; and, do you 
know, it seems to me, whenever he addresses me, his voice 
and air change, and assume quite the tone and manner of 
childhood.' 

' I have never known him but as a great man,' said 
Captain Cadurcis ; ' but he was so frank and simple with 
me from the very first, that I cannot believe that it is not 
two years since we first met.' 



VENETIA. 443 

'Ah ! I shall never forget that night at Ranelagh,' said 
Venetia, half with a smile and half with a sigh. ' How 
interesting he looked ! I loved to see the people stare at 
him, and to hear them whisper his name.' 

Here they seated themselves by a fountain, overshadowed 
by a plane-tree, and for a while talked only of Planta- 
genet. 

' All the dreams of my life have come to pass,' said 
Venetia. ' I remember when I was at Weymouth, ill and 
not very happy, I used to roam about the sands, thinking 
of papa, and how I wished Plantagenet was like him, a great 
man, a great poet, whom all the world admired. Little did 
I think that, before a year had passed, Plantagenet, my 
unknown Plantagenet, would be the admiration of England; 
little did I think another year would pass, and I should be 
living with my father and Plantagenet together, and they 
should be bosom friends. You see, George, we must never 
despair.' 

' Under this bright sun,' said Captain Cadurcis, ' one is 
naturally sanguine, but think of me alone and in gloomy 
England.' 

' It is indeed a bright sun,' said Venetia ; ' how wonder- 
ful to wake every morning, and be sure of meeting its 
beam.' 

Captain Cadurcis looked around him with a sailor's eye. 
Over the Apennines, towards Genoa, there was a ridge 
of dark clouds piled up with such compactness, that they 
might have been mistaken in a hasty survey for part of the 
mountains themselves. 

' Bright as is the sun,' said Captain Cadurcis, ' we may 
have yet a squall before night.' 

' I was delighted with Venice,' said his companion, not 
noticing his observation ; ' I think of all places in the 
world it is one which Plantagenet would most admire. I 
cannot believe but that even his delicious Athens would 
yield to it.' 

' He did lead the oddest life at Athens you can conceive,' 



444 VENETIA. 

said Captain Cadurcis. ' The people did not know what to 
make of him. He lived in the Latin convent, a fine 
building which he had almost to himself, for there are not 
half a dozen monks. He used to pace up and down the 
terrace which he had turned into a garden, and on which 
he kept all sorts of strange animals. He wrote continually 
there. Indeed he did nothing but write. His only 
relaxation was a daily ride to Piraeus, about five miles over 
the plain ; he told me it was the only time in his life he was 
ever contented with himself except when he was at Cher- 
bury. He always spoke of London with disgust.' 

' Plantagenet loves retirement and a quiet life,' said 
Venetia ; ' but he must not be marred with vulgar sights 
and common-place duties. That is the secret with him." 

' I think the wind has just changed,' said Captain 
Condurcis. ' It seems to me that we shall have a sirocco. 
There, it shifts again! We shall have a sirocco for certain.' 

' What did you think of papa when you first saw him ? ' 
said Venetia. ' Was he the kind of person you expected 
to see ? ' 

' Exactly,' said Captain Cadurcis. ' So very spiritual ! 
Plantagenet said to me, as we went home the first night, 
that he looked like a golden phantom. I think him very 
like you, Venetia; indeed, there can be no doubt you 
inherited your face from your father.' 

' Ah ! if you had seen his portrait at Cherbury, when he 
was only twenty ! ' said Venetia. ' That was a golden 
phantom, or rather he looked like Hyperion. What are 
you staring at so, George ? ' 

' I do not like this wind,' muttered Captain Cadurcis. 
' There it goes.' 

' You cannot see the wind, George ? ' 

' Yes, I can, Venetia, and I do not like it at all. Do you. 
see that black spot flitting like a shade over the sea ? It is 
like the reflection of a cloud on the water ; but there is no 
cloud. Well, that is the wind, Venetia, and a very wicked 
wind too.' 



VENETIA. 445 

' How strange ! Is that indeed the wind ? ' 

'We had better return home,' said Captain Cadurcis. 
' I wish they had not gone to Lavenza.' 

' But there is no danger ? ' said Venetia.' 

' Danger ? No ! no danger, but they may get a wet 
jacket.' 

They walked on ; but Captain Cadurcis was rather dis- 
trait : his eye was always watching the wind ; at last he 
said, ' I tell you, Venetia, we must walk quickly ; for, by 
Jove, we are going to have a white squall.' 

They hurried their pace, Venetia mentioned her alarm 
again about the boat ; but her companion reassured her ; 
yet his manner was not so confident as his words. 

A white mist began to curl above the horizon, the blue- 
ness of the day seemed suddenly to fade, and its colour 
became grey ; there was a swell on the waters that hitherto 
had been quite glassy, and they were covered with a scurfy 
foam. 

' I wish I had been with them,' said Captain Cadurcis, 
evidently very anxious. 

' George, you are alarmed,' said Venetia, earnestly. ' I 
am sure there is danger.' 

' Danger ! How can there be danger, Venetia ? Perhaps 
they are in port by this time. I dare say we shall find 
them at Spezzia. I will see you home and run down to 
them. Only hurry, for your own sake, for you do not 
know what a white squall in the Mediterranean is. We 
have but a few moments.' 

And even at this very instant, the wind came roaring 
and rushing with such a violent gush that Venetia could 
scarcely stand ; George put his arm round her to support 
her. The air was filled with thick white vapour, so that 
they could no longer sea the ocean, only the surf rising 
very high all along the coast. 

' Keep close to me, Venetia,' said Captain Cadurcis ; 
'hold my arm and I will walk first, for we shall not be able 
to see a yard before us in a minute. I know where we are. 



446 VENETIA. 

We are above the olive wood, and we shall soon be in the 
ravine. These Mediterranean white squalls are nasty 
things ; I had sooner by half be in a south-wester ; for one 
cannot run before the wind in this bay, the reefs stretch 
such a long way out.' 

The danger, and the inutility of expressing fears which 
could only perplex her guide, made Venetia silent, but she 
was terrified. She could not divest herself of apprehension 
about her father and Plantagenet. In spite of all he said, 
it was evident that her companion was alarmed. 

They had now entered the valley ; the mountains had in 
some degree kept off the vapour ; the air was more clear. 
Venetia and Captain Cadurcis stopped a moment to breathe. 
' Now, Yenetia, you are safe,' said Captain Cadurcis. ' I 
will not come in ; I will run down to the bay at once.' He 
wiped the mist off" his face : Venetia perceived him deadly 
pale. 

'George,' she said, 'conceal nothing from me; there is 
danger, imminent danger. Tell me at once.' 

' Indeed, Venetia,' said Captain Cadurcis, ' I am sure 
everything will be quite right. There is some danger, 
certainly, at this moment; but of course, long ago, they 
have run into harbour. I have no doubt they are at Spezzia 
at this moment. Now, do not be alarmed ; indeed there 
is no cause. God bless you ! ' he said, and bounded away. 
' No cause,' thought he to himself, as the wind sounded 
like thunder, and the vapour came rushing up the ravine. 
' God grant I may be right ; but neither between the 
Tropics nor on the Line have I witnessed a severer squall 
than this ! What open boat can live in this weather ! 
Oh! that I had been with them. I shall never forgive 
myself! ' 



VENETIA. 447 



CHAPTER X. 

VENETIA found her mother walking up and down the room, 
as was her custom when she was agitated. She hurried to 
her daughter. ' You must change your dress instantly, 
Venetia,' said Lady Annabel. ' Where is George ? ' 

' He has gone down to Spezzia to papa and Plantagenet ; 
it is a white squall ; it comes on very suddenly in this sea. 
He ran down to Spezzia instantly, because he thought they 
would be wet,' said the agitated Venetia, speaking with 
rapidity and trying to appear calm. 

' Are they at Spezzia ? ' inquired Lady Annabel, quickly. 

' George has no doubt they are, mother,' said Venetia. 

' No doubt ! ' exclaimed Lady Annabel, in great distress. 
' God grant they may be only wet.' 

' Dearest mother,' said Venetia, approaching her, but 
speech deserted her. She had advanced to encourage 
Lady Annabel, but her own fear checked the words on her 
lips. 

' Change your dress, Venetia,' said Lady Annabel; 'lose 
no time in doing that. I think I will send down to Spezzia 
at once.' 

' That is useless now, dear mother, for George is there.' 

' Go, dearest,' said Lady Annabel ; ' I dare say, we have 
no cause for fear, but I am exceedingly alarmed about your 
father, about them : I am, indeed. I do not like these 
sudden squalls, and I never liked this boating ; indeed, I 
never did. George being with them reconciled me to it. 
Now go, Venetia; go, my love.' 

Venetia quitted the room. She was so agitated that 
she made Pauncefort a confidant of her apprehensions. 

' La ! my dear miss,' said Mistress Pauncefort, ' I should 
never have thought of such a thing ! Do not you remember 
what the old man said at Weymouth, " there is many a 
boat will live in a rougher sea than a ship ; " and it is such 



448 VENETIA. 

an unlikely thing, it is indeed, Miss Venetia. I am certain 
sure my lord can manage a boat as well as a common 
sailor, and master is hardly less used to it than he. La ! 
miss, don't make yourself nervous about any such prepos- 
terous ideas. And I dare say you will find them in the 
saloon when you go down again. Really I should not 
wonder. I think you had better wear your twill dress ; I 
have put the new trimming on.' 

They had not returned when Venetia joined her mother. 
That indeed she could scarcely expect. But, in about half 
an hour, a message arrived from Captain Cadurcis that they 
were not at Spezzia, but from something he had heard, he 
had no doubt they were at Sarzana, and he was going to 
ride on there at once. He felt sure, however, from what he 
had heard, they were at Sarzana. This communication 
afforded Lady Annabel a little ease, but Venetia's heart 
misgave her. She recalled the alarm of George in the 
morning, which it was impossible for him to disguise, and 
she thought she recognised in this hurried message and 
vague assurances of safety something of the same appre- 
hension, and the same fruitless efforts to conceal it. 

Now came the time of terrible suspense. Sarzana was 
nearly twenty miles distant from Spezzia. The evening 
must arrive before they could receive intelligence from 
Captain Cadurcis. In the meantime the squall died away, 
the heavens became again bright, and, though the waves 
were still tumultuous, the surf was greatly decreased. Lady 
Annabel had already sent down more than one messenger 
to the bay, but they brought no intelligence ; she resolved 
now to go herself, that she might have the satisfaction of 
herself cross-examining the fishermen who had been driven 
in from various parts by stress of weather. She would not 
let Venetia accompany her, who, she feared, might already 
suffer from the exertions and rough weather of the morning. 
This was a most anxious hour, and yet the absence of her 
mother was in some degree a relief to Venetia ; it at least 
freed her from the perpetual effort of assumed composure. 



VENETIA. 449 

While her mother remained, Venetia had affected to read, 
though her eye wandered listlessly over the page, or to 
draw, though the pencil trembled in her hand ; anything 
which might guard her from conveying to her mother that 
she shared the apprehensions which had already darkened 
her mother's mind. But now that Lady Annabel was gone, 
Venetia, muffling herself up in her shawl, threw herself 
on a sofa, and there she remained without a thought, her 
mind a chaos of terrible images. 

Her mother returned, and with a radiant countenance. 
Yenetia sprang from the sofa. ' There is good news ; O 
mother ! have they returned ? ' 

' They are not at Spezzia,' said Lady Annabel, throwing 
herself into a chair panting for breath ; ' but there is good 
news. You see I was right to go, Venetia. These stupid 
people we send only ask questions, and take the first 
answer. I have seen a fisherman, and he says he heard 
that two persons, Englishmen he believes, have put into 
Lerici in an open boat.' 

' God be praised ! ' said Venetia. ' mother, I can now 
confess to you the terror I have all along felt.' 

' My own heart assures me of it, my child,' said Lady 
Annabel weeping ; and they mingled their tears together, 
but tears not of sorrow. 

' Poor George ! ' said Lady Annabel, ' he will have a 
terrible journey to Sarzana, and be feeling so much for us ! 
Perhaps he may meet them.' 

' I feel assured he will,' said Venetia ; ' and perhaps ere 
long they will all three be here again. Joy ! joy ! ' 

' They must never go in that boat again,' said Lady 
Annabel. 

' Oh ! they never will, dearest mother, if you ask them 
not,' said Venetia. 

' We will send to Lerici,' said Lady Annabel. 

' Instantly,' said Venetia ; ' but I dare say they have 
already sent us a messenger.' 

a a 



450 VENETIA. 

' No ! ' said Lady Annabel ; ' men treat the danger that 
is past very lightly. We shall not hear from them except 
in person.' 

Time now flew more lightly. They were both easy in 
their minds. The messenger was despatched to Lerici : 
but even Lerici was a considerable distance, and hours 
must elapse before his return. Still there was the hope of 
seeing them, or hearing from them in the interval. 

' I must go out, dear mother,' said Venetia. ' Let us 
both go out. It is now very fine. Let us go just to the 
ravine, for indeed it is impossible to remain here.' 

Accordingly they both went forth, and took up a position 
on the coast which commanded a view on all sides. All 
was radiant again, and comparatively calm. Venetia 
looked upon the sea, and said, ' Ah ! I never shall forget a 
white squall in the Mediterranean, for all this splendour.' 

It was sunset : they returned home. No news yet from 
Lerici. Lady Annabel grew uneasy again. The pensive 
and melancholy hour encouraged gloom ; but Yenetia, who 
was sanguine, encouraged her mother. 

'Suppose they were not Englishmen in the boat,' said 
Lady Annabel. 

* It is impossible, mother. What other two persons in 
this neighbourhood could have been in an open boat ? 
Besides, the man said Englishmen. You remember, he 
said Englishmen. You are quite sure he did ? It must 
be they. I feel as convinced of it as of your presence.' 

* I think there can be no doubt,' said Lady Annabel. * I 
wish that the messenger would return.' 

The messenger did return. No two persons in an open 
boat had put into Lerici ; but a boat, like the one described, 
with every stitch of canvas set, had passed Lerici just 
before the squall commenced, and, the people there doubted 
not, had made Sarzana. 

Lady Annabel turned pale, but Venetia was still sanguine. 
' They are at Sarzana,' she said ; ' they must be at Sarzana; 
you see George was right. He said he was sure they were 



VENETIA. 45 1 

at Sarzana. Besides, dear mother, he heard they were at 
Sarzana.' 

' And we heard they were at Lerici,' said Lady Annabel 
in a melancholy tone. 

'And so they were, dear mother; it all agrees. The 
accounts are consistent. Do not you see how very con- 
sistent they are ? They were seen at Lerici, and were off 
Lerici, but they made Sarzana ; and George heard they were 
at Sarzana. I am certain they are at Sarzana. I feel quite 
easy ; I feel as easy as if they were here. They are safe at 
Sarzana. But it is too far to return to-night. We shall 
see them at breakfast to-morrow, all three.' 

'Venetia, dearest! do not you sit up,' said her mother. 
I think there is a chance of George returning; I f ee l 
assured he will send to-night ; but late, of course. Go 
dearest, and sleep.' 

' Sleep ! ' thought Venetia to herself; but to please her 
mother she retired. 

' Good-night, my child,' said Lady Annabel. < The mo- 
ment any one arrives, you shall be aroused.' 



CHAPTER XI. 

VENETIA, without undressing, lay down on her bed, watching 
for some sound that might give her hope of George's return 
Dwelling on'every instant, the time dragged heavily along, 
and she thought that the night had half passed when 
Pauncefort entered her room, and she learnt to her 
surprise, that only an hour had elapsed since she had 
parted from her mother. This entrance of Pauncefort 
had gxven Venetia a momentary hope that they had 
returned. 

' I assure you, Miss Venetia, it is only an hour,' said 
Pauncefort, and nothing could have happened. Now do 
o go to sleep, that is a dear young lady, for I am 
srtam sure that they will all return in the morning, as I 



O G 2 



452 VENETIA. 

am here I was telling my lady just now, I said, says I, I 
dare say they are all very wet, and very fatigued.' 

' They would have returned, Pauncefort,' said Venetia, 
' or they would have sent. They are not at Sarzana.' 

' La ! Miss Venetia, why should they be at Sarzana ? 
Why should they not have gone much farther on ! For, 
as Vicenzo was just saying to me, and Yicenzo knows all 
about the coast, with such a wind as this, I should not be 
surprised if they were at Leghorn.' 

' O Pauncefort ! ' said Venetia, ' I am sick at heart ! ' 

' Now really, Miss Venetia, do not take on so ! ' said 
Pauncefort ; ' for do not you remember when his lordship 
ran away from the abbey, and went a gipsying, nothing 
would persuade poor Mrs. Cadurcis that he was not robbed 
and murdered, and yet you see he was as safe and sound 
all the time, as if he had been at Cherbury.' 

' Does Vicenzo really think they could have reached 
Leghorn ? ' said Venetia, clinging to every fragment of 
hope. 

' He is morally sure of it, Miss Venetia,' said Paunce- 
fort, ' and I feel quite as certain, for Vicenzo is always 
right.' 

'I had confidence about Sarzana,' said Venetia; 'I 
really did believe they were at Sarzana. If only Captain 
Cadurcis would return ; if he only would return, and say 
they rrere not at Sarzana, I would try to believe they were 
at Leghorn.' 

' Now, Miss Venetia,' said Pauncefort, ' I am certain 
sure that they are quite safe ; for my lord is a very good 
sailor ; he is, indeed ; all the men say so ; and the boat is 
as seaworthy a boat as boat can be. There is not the 
slightest fear, I do assure you, miss.' 

' Do the men say that Plantagenet is a good sailor ? ' 
inquired Venetia. 

' Quite professional ! ' said Mistress Pauncefort ; ' and 
can command a ship as well as the best of them. They all 
say that.' 



VJENETIA. 453 

' Hush ! Pauncefort, I hear something.' 

' It's only my lady, miss. I know her step.' 

' Is my mother going to bed ? ' said Venetia. 

' Yes,' said Pauncefort, ' my lady sent me here to see 
after you. I wish I could tell her you were asleep.' 

' It is impossible to sleep,' said Venetia, rising up from 
the bed, withdrawing the curtain, and looking at the sky. 
' What a peaceful night ! I wish my heart were like the 
sky. I think I will go to mamma, Pauncefort ! ' 

' Oh ! dear, Miss Venetia, I am sure I think you had 
better not. If you and my lady, now, would only just go 
to sleep, and forget every thing till morning, it would be 
much better for you. Besides, I am sure if my lady knew 
you were not gone to bed already, it would only make her 
doubly anxious. Now, really, Miss Venetia, do take my 
advice, and just lie down again. You may be sure the 
moment any one arrives I will let you know. Indeed, I 
shall go and tell my lady that you are lying down as it is, 
and very drowsy ; ' and, so saying, Mistress Pauncefort 
caught up her candle, and bustled out of the room. 

Venetia took up the volume of her father's poems, 
which Cadurcis had filled with his notes. How little did 
Plantagenet anticipate, when he thus expressed at Athens 
the passing impressions of his mind, that, ere a year had 
glided away, his fate would be so intimately blended with 
that of Herbert ! It was impossible, however, for Venetia 
to lose herself in a volume which, under any other circum- 
stances, might have compelled her spirit ! the very associa- 
tions with the writers added to the terrible restlessness of 
her mind. She paused each instant to listen for the 
wished-for sound, but a mute stillness reigned throughout 
the house and household. There was something in this 
deep, unbroken silence, at a moment when anxiety was 
universally diffused among the dwellers beneath that roof, 
and the heart of more than one of them was throbbing 
with all the torture of the most awful suspense, that fell 
upon Venetia's excited nerves with a very painful and 



454 VENETIA. 

even insufferable influence. She longed for sound, for 
some noise that might assure her she was not the victim 
of a trance. She closed her volume with energy, and she 
started at the sound she had herself created. She rose 
and opened the door of her chamber very softly, and 
walked into the vestibule. There were caps, and cloaks, 
and whips, and canes of Cadurcis and her father, lying 
about in familiar confusion. It seemed impossible but 
that they were sleeping, as usual, under the same roof. 
And where were they ? That she should live and be 
unable to answer that terrible question ! When she felt 
the utter helplessness of all her strong sympathy towards 
them, it seemed to her that she must go mad. She gazed 
around her with a wild and vacant stare. At the bottom 
of her heart there was a fear maturing into conviction too 
horrible for expression. She returned to her own chamber, 
and the exhaustion occasioned by her anxiety, and the 
increased coolness of the night, made her at length drowsy. 
She threw herself on the bed and slumbered. 

She started in her sleep, she awoke, she dreamed they 
had come home. She rose and looked at the progress of 
the night. The night was waning fast ; a grey light was 
on the landscape ; the point of day approached. Venetia 
stole softly to her mother's room, and entered it with a 
soundless step. Lady Annabel had not retired to bed. 
She had sat np the whole night, and was now asleep. A 
lamp on a small table was burning at her side, and she 
held, firmly grasped in her hand, the letter of her husband, 
which he had addressed to her at Venice, and which she 
had been evidently reading. A tear glided down the 
ckeek of Venetia as she watched her mother retaining that 
letter with fondness even in her sleep, and when she 
thought of all the misery, and heartaches, and harrowing 
hours that had preceded its receipt, and which Venetia 
believed that letter had cured for ever. What misery 
awaited them now ? Why were they watchers of the 
night ? She shuddered when these dreadful questions 



VENETIA. 455 

flitted through her mind. She shuddered and sighed. 
Her mother started, and woke. 

' Who is there ? ' inquired Lady Annabel. 

' Venetia.' 

' My child, have you not slept ? ' 

' Yes, mother, and I woke refreshed, as I hope you do.' 

* I wake with trust in God's mercy,' said Lady Annabel. 
Tell me the hour.' 

'It is just upon dawn, mother.' 

' Dawn ! no one has returned, or come.' 

' The house is still, mother.' 

' I would you were in bed, my child.' 

' Mother, I can sleep no more. I wish to be with you ; ' 
and Venetia seated herself at her mother's feet, and re- 
clined her head upon her mother's knee. 

' I am glad the night has passed, Venetia,' said Lady 
Annabel, in a suppressed yet solemn tone. ' It has been 
a trial.' And here she placed the letter in her bosom. 
Venetia conld only answer with a sigh. 

' I wish Pauncefort would come,' said Lady Annabel ; 
' and yet I do not like to rouse her, she was up so late, 
poor creature ! If it be the dawn I should like to send 
out messengers again ; something may be heard at 
Spezzia.' 

' Vicenzo thinks they have gone to Leghorn, mother.' 

' Has he heard anything ! ' said Lady Annabel, eagerly. 

' ISTo, but he is an excellent judge,' said Venetia, repeating 
all Pauncefort' s consolatory chatter. ' He knows the coast 
so well. He says he is sure the wind would carry them on 
to Leghorn ; and that accounts, you know, mother, for 
George not returning. They are all at Leghorn.' 

'Would that George would return,' murmured Lady 
Annabel ; ' I wish I could see again that sailor who said 
they were at Lerici. He was an intelligent man.' 

' Perhaps if we send down to the bay he may be there,' 
said Venetia.' 

' Hush ! I hear a step ! ' said Lady Annabel. 



456 VENETIA. 

Venetia sprung up and opened the door, but it was only 
Pauncefort in the vestibule. 

' The household are all up, my lady,' said that important 
personage entering ; ' 'tis a beautiful morning. Vicenzo has 
run down to the bay, my lady ; I sent him off immediately. 
Vicenzo says he is certain sure they are at Leghorn, my 
lady ; and, this time three years, . the very same thing 
happened. They were fishing for anchovies, my lady, 
close by, my lady, near Sarzana ; two young men, or rather 
one about the same age as master, and one like my lord ; 
cousins, my lady, and just in the same sort of boat, my lady; 
and there came on a squall, just the same sort of squall, 
my lady; and they did not return home; and everyone 
was frightened out of their wits, my lady, and their wives 
and families quite distracted; and after all they were at 
Leghorn ; for this sort of wind always takes your open 
boats to Leghorn, Vicenzo says.' 

The sun rose, the household were all stirring, and many 
of them abroad; the common routine of domestic duty 
seemed, by some general yet not expressed understanding, 
to have ceased. The ladies descended below at a very 
early hour, and went forth into the valley, once the happy 
valley. What was to be its future denomination ? Vicenzo 
returned from the bay, and he contrived to return with 
cheering intelligence. The master of a felucca who, in 
consequence of the squall had put in at Lerici, and in the 
evening dropped down to Spezzia, had met an open boat 
an hour before he reached Sarzana, and was quite con- 
fident that, if it had put into port, it must have been, 
from the speed at which it was going, a great distance down 
the coast. No wrecks had been heard of in the neighbour- 
hood. This intelligence, the gladsome time of day, and the 
non-arrival of Captain Cadurcis, which according to their 
mood was always a circumstance that counted either for 
good or for evil, and the sanguine feelings whicli make us 
always cling to hope, altogether reassured our friends. 
Venetia dismissed from her mind the dark thought which. 



VENETIA, 457 

for a moment had haunted her in the noon of night ; and 
still it was a suspense, a painful, agitating suspense, but 
only suspense that yet influenced them. 

' Time ! said Lady Annabel. ' Time ! we must wait.' 

Venetia consoled her mother ; she affected even a gaiety 
of spirit ; she was sure that Vicenzo would turn out to be 
right, after all ; Pauncefort said he always was right, and 
that they were at Leghorn. 

The day wore apace ; the noon arrived and passed ; it 
,was even approaching sunset. Lady Annabel was almost 
afraid to counterorder the usual meals, lest Venetia should 
comprehend her secret terror ; the very same sentiment 
influenced Yenetia. Thus they both had submitted to the 
ceremony of breakfast, but when the hour of dinner 
approached they could neither endure the mockery. They 
looked at each other, and almost at the same time they 
proposed that, instead of dining, they should walk down to 
the bay. 

' I trust we shall at least hear something before the 
night,' said Lady Annabel. ' I confess I dread the coming 
night. I do not think I could endure it.' 

' The longer we do not hear, the more certain I am of 
their being at Leghorn,' said Venetia. 

' I have a great mind to travel there to-night,' said Lady 
Annabel. 

As they were stepping into the portico, Venetia recog- 
nised Captain Cadurcis in the distance. She turned pale ; 
she would have fallen had she not leaned on her mother, 
who was not so advanced, and who had not seen him. 

' What is the matter, Venetia ! ' said Lady Annabel, 
alarmed. 

' He is here, he is here ! ' 

' Marmion ? ' 

' No, George. Let me sit down.' 

Her mother tried to support her to a chair. Lady 
Annabel took off her bonnet. She had not strength to 
walk forth. She could not speak. She sat down opposite 



458 VENETIA. 

Venetia, and lier countenance pictured distress to so painful 
a degree, that at any other time Venetia would have flown to 
her, but in this crisis of suspense it was impossible. George 
was in sight ; he was in the portico ; he was in the room. 

He looked wan, haggard, and distracted. More than 
once he essayed to speak, but failed. 

Lady Annabel looked at him with a strange, delirious 
expression. Venetia rushed forward and seized his arm, 
and gazed intently on his face. He shrank from her 
glance ; his frame trembled. 



CHAPTER XII. 

IN the heart of the tempest Captain Cadurcis traced his 
way in a sea of vapour with extreme danger and difficulty 
to the shore. On his arrival at Spezzia, however, scarcely 
a house was visible, and the only evidence of the situation 
of the place was the cessation of an immense white surf 
which otherwise indicated the line of the sea, but the ab- 
sence of which proved his contiguity to a harbour. In 
the thick fog he heard the cries and shouts of the returning 
fishermen, and of their wives and children responding from 
the land to their exclamations. He was forced, therefore, 
to wait at Spezzia, in an agony of impotent suspense, until 
the fury of the storm was over and the sky was partially 
cleared. At length the objects became gradually less 
obscure ; he could trace the outline of the houses, and 
catch a glimpse of the water half a mile out, and soon the 
old castles which guard the entrance of the strait that leads 
into the gulf, looming in the distance, and now and then a 
group of human beings in the vanishing vapour. Of these 
he made some inquiries, but in vain, respecting the boat 
and his friends. He then made the brig, but could learn 
nothing except their departure in the morning. He at 
length obtained a horse and galloped along the coast 
towards Lerici, keeping a sharp look out as he proceeded, 



VENETIA. 459 

and stopping at every village in his progress for intelli- 
gence. When he had arrived in the course of three hours 
at Lerici, the storm had abated, the sky was clear, and no 
evidence of the recent squall remained except the agitated 
state of the waves. At Lerici he could hear nothing, so he 
hurried on to Sarzana, where he learnt for the first time 
that an open boat, with its sails set, had passed more than 
an hour before the squall commenced. From Sarzana he 
hastened on to Lavenza, a little port, the nearest sea-point 
to Massa, and where the Carrara marble is shipped for 
England. Here also his inquiries were fruitless, and, 
exhausted by his exertions, he dismounted and rested at 
the inn, not only for repose, but to consider over the course 
which he should now pursue. The boat had not been seen 
off Lavenza, and the idea that they had made the coast 
towards Leghorn now occurred to him. His horse was so 
wearied that he was obliged to stop some time at Lavenza, 
for he could procure no other mode of conveyance ; the 
night also was fast coming on, and to proceed to Leghorn 
by this dangerous route at this hour was impossible. At 
Lavenza therefore he remained, resolved to hasten to 
Leghorn at break of day. This was a most awful night. 
Although physically exhausted, Captain Caduris could not 
sleep, and, after some vain efforts, he quitted his restless 
bed on which he had laid down without undressing, and 
walked forth to the harbour. Between anxiety for Herbert 
and his cousin, and for the unhappy women whom he 
had left behind, he was nearly distracted. He gazed on 
the sea, as if some sail in sight might give him a chance of 
hope. His professional experience assured him of all the 
danger of the squall. He could not conceive how an open 
boat could live in such a sea, and an instant return to port 
so soon as the squall commenced, appeared the only chance 
of its salvation. Could they have reached Leghorn ? It 
seemed impossible. There was no hope they could now be 
at Sarzana, or Lerici. When he contemplated the full con- 
tingency of 'what might have occurred, his mind wandered, 



460 VENETIA. 

and refused to comprehend the possibility of the terrible 
conclusion. He thought the morning Avould never break. 

There was a cavernous rock by the seashore, that jutted 
into the water like a small craggy promontory. Captain 
Cadurcis climbed to its top, and then descending, reclined 
himself upon an inferior portion of it, which formed a 
natural couch with the wave on each side. "There, lying at 
his length, he gazed upon the mpon and stars whose bright- 
ness he thought would never dim. The Mediterranean is a 
tideless sea, but the swell of the waves, which still set in to 
the shore, bore occasionally masses of sea- weed and other 
marine formations, and deposited them around him, plash- 
ing, as it broke against the shore, with a melancholy and 
monotonous sound. The abstraction of the scene, the hour, 
and the surrounding circumstances brought, however, no 
refreshment to the exhausted spirit of George Cadurcis. 
He could not think, indeed he did not dare to think ; 
but the villa of the Apennines and the open boat in the 
squall flitted continually before him. His mind was feeble 
though excited, and he fell into a restless and yet unmean- 
ing reverie. As long as he had been in action, as long as 
he had been hurrying along the coast, the excitement of 
motion, the constant exercise of his senses, had relieved 
or distracted the intolerable suspense. But this pause, 
this inevitable pause, overwhelmed him. It oppressed his 
spirit like eternity. And yet what might the morning 
bring ? Ho almost wished that he might remain for 
ever on this rock watching the moon and stars, and that 
tke life of the world might never recommence. 

He started ; he had fallen into a light slumber ; he had 
been dreaming ; he thought he had heard the voice of 
Venetia calling him ; he had forgotten where he was ; he 
stared at the sea and sky, and recalled his dreadful 
consciousness. The wave broke with a heavy plash that 
attracted his attention: it was, indeed, that sound that 
had awakened him. He looked around ; there was some 
object; he started wildly from his resting-place, sprang 



VENETIA. 461 

over the cavern, and bounded on the beach. It was a 
corpse ; he is kneeling by its side. It is the corpse of his 
cousin ! Lord Cadurcis was a fine swimmer, and had evi- 
dently made strong efforts for his life, for he was partly 
undressed. In all the insanity of hope, still wilder than 
despair, George Cadurcis seized the body and bore it some 
yards upon the shore. Life had been long extinct. The 
corpse was cold and stark, the eyes closed, an expression of 
energy, however, yet lingering in the fixed jaw, and the 
hair sodden with the sea. Suddenly Captain Cadurcis 
rushed to the inn and roused the household. With a 
distracted air, and broken speech and rapid motion, he 
communicated the catastrophe. Several persons, some 
bearing torches, others blankets and cordials, followed him 
instantly to the fatal spot. They hurried to the body, they 
applied all the rude remedies of the moment, rather from 
the impulse of nervous excitement than with any practical 
purpose ; for the case had been indeed long hopeless. 
While Captain Cadurcis leant over the body, chafing the 
extremities in a hurried frenzy, and gazing intently on the 
countenance, a shout was heard from one of the stragglers 
who had recently arrived. The sea had washed on the 
beach another corpse : the form of Marmion Herbert i It 
would appear that he had made no struggle to save 
himself, for his hand was locked in his waistcoat, where, at 
the moment, he had thrust the Phsedo, showing that he 
had been reading to the last, and was meditating on 
immortality when he died. 



END OF BOOK VI. 



462 



VENETIA. 



BOOK VH. 



CHAPTER I. 

IT was the commencement of autumn. The verdure of 
summer still lingered on the trees ; the sky, if not so cloud- 
less, was almost as refulgent as Italy; and the pigeons 
bright and glancing, clustered on the roof of the hall of 
Cherbury. The steward was in attendance; the household, 
all in deep mourning, were assembled ; everything was in* 
readiness for the immediate arrival of Lady Annabel Herbert. 
"Tis nearly four years come Martinmas,' said the grey- 
headed butler, ' since my lady left us.' 

'And no good has come of it,' said the housekeeper. 
And for my part I never heard of good coming from som<r 
to foreign parts.' . 

'I shall like to see Miss Venetia again,' said a house- 
maid. ' Bless her sweet face.' 

' I never expected to see her Miss Venetia again from all 
we heard,' said a footman. 

' God's will be done ! ' said the grey-headed butler ; but 
I hope she will find happiness at home. 'Tis nigh on twenty 
years since I first nursed her in these arms.' 

' I wonder if there is any new Lord Cadurcis,' said the 
footman. ' I think he was the last of the line.' 

' It would have been a happy day if I had lived to have 
seen the poor young lord marry Miss Venetia,' said the 
housekeeper. I always thought that match was made in 
heaven.' 

'He was a sweetspoken young gentleman,' said the 
housemaid. 



VENETIA. 463 

' For my part,' said the footman, ' I should like to have 
seen our real master, Squire Herbert. He was a famous 
gentleman by all accounts.' 

' I wish they had lived quietly at home,' said the house- 
keeper. 

' I shall never forget the time when my lord returned,' 
said the grey-headed butler. ' I must say I thought it was 
a match.' 

' Mistress Pauncefort seemed to think so,' said the house- 
maid. 

' And she understands those things,' said the footman. 

' I see the carriage,' said a servant who was at a window 
in the hall. All immediately bustled about, and the house- 
keeper sent a message to the steward. 

The carriage might be just discovered at the end of the 
avenue. It was some time before it entered the iron gates 
that were thrown open for its reception. The steward 
stood on the steps with his hat off, the servants were 
ranged in order at the entrance. Touching their horses 
with the spur, and cracking their whips, the postilions 
dashed round the circular plot and stopped at the hall- 
door. Under any circumstances a return home after an 
interval of years is rather an awful moment ; there was 
not a servant who was not visibly affected. On the out- 
side of the carriage was a foreign servant and Mistress 
Pauncefort, who was not so profuse as might have been 
expected in her recognitions of her old friends ; her coun- 
tenance was graver than of yore. Misfortune and misery 
had subdued even Mistress Pauncefort. The foreign 
servant opened the door of the carriage ; a young man, who 
was a stranger to the household, but who- was in deep 
mourning, alighted, and then Lady Annabel appeared. The 
steward advanced to welcome her, the "household bowed and 
curtseyed. She smiled on them for a moment graciously 
and kindly, but her countenance immediately reassumed a 
serious air, and whispering one word to the strange gentle- 



464 7ENETIA. 

man, she entered the hall alone, inviting the steward to 
follow her. 

' I hope your ladyship is well ; welcome home, my lady ; 
welcome again to Cherbury ; a welcome return, my lady ; 
hope Miss Venetia is quite well ; happy to see your lady- 
ship amongst us again, and Miss Venetia too, my lady.' 
Lady Annabel acknowledged these salutations with kind- 
ness, and then, saying that Miss Herbert was not very 
well and was fatigued with her journey, she dismissed her 
humble but trusty friends. Lady Annabel then turned and 
nodded to her fellow-traveller. 

Upon this Lord Cadurcis, if we must indeed use a 
title from which he himself shrank, carried a shrouded form 
in his arms into the hall, where the steward alone lingered, 
though withdrawn to the back part of the scene ; and Lady 
Annabel, advancing to meet him, embraced his treasured 
burden, her own unhappy child. 

' Now, Venetia ! dearest Venetia ! ' she said, ' 'tis past ; 
we are at home.' 

Venetia leant upon her mother, but made no reply. 

'Upstairs, dearest,' said Lady Annabel: 'a little exer- 
tion, a very little.' Leaning on her mother and Lord 
Cadurcis, Venetia ascended the staircase, and they reached 
the terrace-room. Venetia looked around her as she 
entered the chamber ; that scene of her former life, 
endeared to her by so many happy hours, and so many 
sweet incidents ; that chamber where she had* first seen 
Plantagenet. Lord Cadurcis supported her to a chair, and 
then, overwhelmed by irresistible emotion, she sank back 
in a swoon. 

No one was allowed to enter the room but Pauncefort. 
They revived her; Lord Cadurcis holding her hand, and 
touching, with a watchful finger, her pulse. Venetia 
opened her eyes, and looked around her. Her mind did 
not wander; she immediately recognised where she was, 
and recollected all that had happened. She faintly smiled, 
and said, in a low voice, 'You are all too kind, and I am 



VENETIA. 465 

very weak. After our trials, what is this, George ? ' she 
added, struggling to appear animated ; ' you are at length at 
Cherbury.' 

Once more at Cherbury ! It was, indeed, an event that 
recalled a thousand associations. In the wild anguish of 
her first grief, when the dreadful intelligence was broken 
to her, if anyone had whispered to Venetia that she would 
yet find herself once more at Cherbury, she would have 
esteemed the intimation as mockery. But time and hope 
will struggle with the most poignant affliction, and their 
influence is irresistible and inevitable. From her darkened 
chamber in their Mediterranean villa, Venetia had again 
come forth, and crossed mountains, and traversed immense 
plains, and journeyed through many countries. She could 
not die, as she had supposed at first that she must, and 
therefore she had exerted herself to quit, and to quit 
speedily, a scene so terrible as their late abode. She was 
the very first to propose their return to England, and to 
that spot where she had passed her early life, and where 
she now wished to fulfil, in quiet and seclusion, the 
allotment of her remaining years ; to meditate over the 
marvellous past, and cherish its sweet and bitter recollec- 
tions. The native firmness of Lady Annabel, her long 
exercised control over her emotions, the sadness and 
subdued tone which the early incidents of her career had 
cast over her character, her profound sympathy with her 
daughter, and that religious consolation which never 
deserted her, had alike impelled and enabled her to bear 
up against the catastrophe with more fortitude than her 
child. The arrow, indeed, had struck Venetia with a 
double barb. She was the victim ; and all the cares o 
Lady Annabel had been directed to soothe and support this 
stricken lamb. Yet perhaps these unhappy women must 
have sunk under their unparalleled calamities, had it not 
been for the devotion of their companion. In the despair 
of his first emotions, George Cadurcis was nearly plunging 
himself headlong into the wave that had already proved so 

H II 



466 VENETIA. 

fatal to his house. But when he thought of Lady Annabel 
and Venetia in a foreign land, without a single friend in their 
desolation, and pictured them to himself with the dreadful 
news abruptly communicated by sonie unfeeling stranger ; 
and called upon, in the midst of their overwhelming agony, 
to attend to all the heart-rending arrangements which the 
discovery of the bodies of the beings to whom they were 
devoted, and in whom all their feelings were centred, must 
necessarily entail upon them, he recoiled from what he 
contemplated as an act of infamous desertion. He re- 
solved to live, if only to preserve them from all their im- 
pending troubles, and with the hope that his exertions 
might tend, in however slight a degree, not to alleviate, 
for that was impossible ; but to prevent the increase of that 
terrible woe, the very conception of which made his brain 
stagger. He carried the bodies, therefore, with him to 
Spezzia, and then prepared for that fatal interview, the 
commencement of which we first indicated. Yet it must 
be confessed that, though the bravest of men, his courage 
faltered as he entered the accustomed ravine. He stopped 
and looked down on the precipice below ; he felt it utterly 
impossible to meet them ; his mind nearly deserted him. 
Death, some great and universal catastrophe, an earth- 
quake, a deluge, that would have buried them all in an 
instant and a common fate, would have been hailed by 
George Cadurcis, at that moment, as good fortune. 

He lurked about the ravine for nearly three hours before 
he could summon up heart for the awful interview. The 
position he had taken assured him that no one could ap- 
proach the villa, to which he himself dared not advance. At 
length, in a paroxysm of energetic despair, he had rushed 
forward, met them instantly, and confessed with a whirling 
brain, and almost unconscious of his utterance, that ' they 
could not hope to see them again in this world.' 

What ensued must neither be attempted to be described, 
nor even remembered. It was one of those tragedies of 
life which enfeeble the most faithful memories at a blow, 



VENETIA. 467 

shatter nerves beyond the faculty of revival, cloud the mind 
for ever, or turn the hair grey in an instant. They carried 
Venetia delirious to her bed. The very despair, and almost 
madness, of her daughter forced Lady Annabel to self- 
exertion, of which it was difficult to suppose that even she 
was capable. And George, too, was obliged to leave them. 
He stayed only the night. A few words passed between 
Lady Annabel and himself j she wished the bodies to be 
embalmed, and borne to England. There was no time to 
be lost, and there was no one to be entrusted except 
George. He had to hasten to Genoa to make all these 
preparations, and for two days he was absent from the 
villa. When he returned, Lady Annabel saw him, but 
Venetia was for a long time invisible. The moment she 
grew composed, she expressed a wish to her mother 
instantly to return to Cherbury. All the arrangements 
necessarily devolved upon George Cadurcis. It was his 
study that Lady Annabel should be troubled upon no 
point. The household were discharged, all the affairs were 
wound up, the felucca hired which was to bear them to 
Genoa, and in readiness, before he notified to them that 
the hour of departure had arrived. The most bitter 
circumstance was looking again upon the sea. It seemed 
so intolerable to Venetia, that their departure was delayed 
more than one day in consequence ; but it was inevitable ; 
they could reach Genoa in no other manner. George 
carried Venetia in his arms to the boat, with her face 
covered with a shawl, and bore her in the same manner to 
the hotel at Genoa, where their travelling carriage awaited 
them. 

They travelled home rapidly. All seemed to be impelled, 
as it were, by a restless desire for repose. Cherbury was 
the only thought in Venetia's mind. She observed nothing ; 
she made no remark during their journey ; they travelled 
often throughout the night ; but no obstacles occurred, no 
inconveniences. There was one in this miserable society 
whose only object in life was to support Venetia under her 
H H 2 



4G8 VENETIA. 

terrible visitation. Silent, but with, an eye that never 
slept, George Cadurcis watched Yenetia as a nurse might 
a child. He read her thoughts, he anticipated her wishes 
without inquiring them ; every arrangement was unobtru- 
sively made that could possibly consult her comfort. 

They passed through London without stopping there. 
George would not leave them for an instant ; nor would 
he spare a thought to his own affairs, though they urgently 
required his attention. The change in his position gave 
him no consolation ; he would not allow his passport to be 
made out with his title ; he shuddered at being called 
Lord Cadurcis ; and the only reason that made him hesitate 
about attending them to Cherbury was its contiguity to 
his ancestral seat, which he resolved never to visit. There 
never in the world was a less selfish and more single- 
hearted man than George Cadurcis. Though the death of 
his cousin had invested him with one of the most ancient 
coronets in England, a noble residence and a fair estate, he 
would willingly have sacrificed his life to have recalled 
Plantagenet to existence, and to have secured the happiness 
of Venetia Herbert. 



CHAPTER H. 

THE reader must not suppose, from the irresistible emotion 
that overcame Venetia at the very moment of her return, 
that she was entirely prostrated by her calamities. On 
the contrary, her mind had been employed, during the 
whole of her journey to England, in a silent effort to endure 
her lot with resignation. She had resolved to bear up 
against her misery with fortitude, and she inherited from 
her mother sufficient firmness of mind to enable her to 
achieve her purpose. She came back to Cherbury to live 
with patience and submission ; and though her dreams of 
happiness might be vanished for ever, to contribute as 



VENETIA. 469 

much as was in her power to the content of that dear and 
remaining relative who was yet spared to her, and who 
depended in this world only upon the affection of her child. 
The return to Cherbury was a pang, and it was over. 
Venetia struggled to avoid the habits of an invalid ; she 
purposed resuming, as far as was in her power, all the 
pursuits and duties of her life ; and if it were neither 
possible, nor even desirable, to forget the past, she dwelt 
upon it neither to sigh nor to murmur, but to cherish in a 
sweet and musing mood the ties and affections round which 
all her feelings had once gathered with so much enjoyment 
and so much hope. 

She rose, therefore, on the morning after her return to 
Cherbury, at least serene; and she took an early oppor- 
tunity, when George and her mother were engaged, and 
absent from the terrace-room, to go forth alone and wander 
amid her old haunts. There was not a spot about the park 
and gardens, which had been favourite resorts of herself 
find Plantagenet in their childhood, that she did not visit. 
They were unchanged ; as green, and bright, and still as 
in old days, but what was she ? The freshness, and 
brilliancy, and careless happiness of her life were fled for 
ever. And here he lived, and here he roamed, and here 
liis voice sounded, now in glee, now in melancholy, now in 
wild and fanciful amusement, and now pouring into her 
bosom all his domestic sorrows. It was but ten years 
since he first arrived at Cherbury, and who could have 
anticipated that that little, silent, reserved boy should, ere 
ten years had passed, have filled a wide and lofty space in 
the world's thought ; that his existence should have 
influenced the mind of nations, and his death eclipsed 
their gaiety ! His death ! Terrible and disheartening 
thought ! Plantagenet was no more. But he had not 
died without a record. His memory was embalmed in 
immortal verse, and he had breathed his passion to his 
Venetia in language that lingered in the ear, and would 
dwell for ever on the lips, of his fellow-men. 



470 VENETU. 

Among these -woods, too, had Venetia first mused over 
her father; before her rose those mysterious chambers, 
whose secret she had penetrated at the risk of her life. 
There were no secrets now. Was she happier ? Now she 
felt that even in her early mystery there was delight, and 
that hope was veiled beneath its ominous shadow. There 
was now no future to ponder over; her hope was gone, 
and memory alone remained. All the dreams of those 
musing hours of her hidden reveries had been realised. 
She had seen that father, that surpassing parent, who had 
satisfied alike her heart and her imagination ; she had been 
clasped to his bosom ; she had lived to witness even her 
mother yield to his penitent embrace. And he too was 
gone ; she could never meet him again in this world ; in 
this world in which they had experienced such exquisite 
bliss ; and now she was once more at Cherbury ! Oh ! 
give her back her girlhood, with all its painful mystery 
and harassing doubt ! Give her again a future ! 

She returned to the hall ; she met George on the terrace, 
she welcomed him with a sweet, yet mournful smile. ' I 
have been very selfish,' she said, ' for I have been walking 
alone. I mean to introduce you to Cherbury, but I could 
not resist visiting some old spots.' Her voice faltered in 
these last words. They re-entered the terrace-room to- 
gether, and joined her mother. 

' Nothing is changed, mamma,' said Venetia, in a more 
cheerful tone. ' It is pleasant to find something that is the 
same.' 

Several days passed, and Lord Cadurcis evinced no 
desire to visit his inheritance. Yet Lady Annabel was 
anxious that he should do so, and had more than once 
impressed upon him the propriety. Even Yenetia at 
length said to him, * It is very selfish in us keeping you 
here, George. Tour presence is a great consolation, and 
yet, yet, ought you not to visit your home ? ' She avoided 
the name of Cadurcis. 

' I ought, dear Venetia,' said George, 'and I will. I have 



VENETIA. 471 

promised Lady Annabel twenty times, but I feel a terrible 
disinclination. To-morrow, perhaps.' 8 

' To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,' murmured 
Venetia to herself, 'I scarcely comprehend now what to- 
morrow means.' And then again addressing him, and 
with more liveliness, she said, ' We have only one friend in 
the world now, George, and I think that we ought to be 
very grateful that he is our neighbour.' 

'It is a consolation to me,' said Lord Cadurcis, ' for I 
cannot remain here, and otherwise I should scarcely know 
how to depart.' 

'I wish you would visit your home, if only for one 
morning,' said Venetia; 'if only to know how very near 
you are to us.' 

'I dread going alone,' said Lord Cadurcis. 'I cannot 

ask Lady Annabel to accompany me, because " He 

hesitated. 

' Because ? ' inquired Venetia. 

' I cannot ask or wish her to leave you.' 

'You are always thinking of me, dear George,' said 
Venetia, artlessly. 'I assure you, I have come back to 
Cherbury to be happy. I must visit your home some day, 
and I hope I shall visit it often. We will all go, soon,' she 
added. 

' Then I will postpone my visit to that day,' said George. 
'I am in no humour for business, which I know awaits me 
there. Let me enjoy a little more repose at dear Cherbury.' 

' I have become very restless of late, I think,' said 
Venetia, ' but there is a particular spot in the garden that 
I wish to see. Come with me, George.' 

Lord Cadurcis was only too happy to attend her. They 
proceeded through a winding walk in the shrubberies 
until they arrived at a small and open plot of turf, where 
Venetia stopped. ' There are some associations,' she said, 
'of this spot connected with both those friends that we 
have lost. I have a fancy that it should be in some visible 
manner consecrated to their memories. On this spot, George, 



472 VENETIA. 

Plantagenet once spoke to me of my father. I should like 
to raise their busts here ; and indeed it is a fit place for 
such a purpose ; for poets,' she added, faintly smiling, 
' should be surrounded with laurels.' 

' I have some thoughts on this head that I am revolving 
in my fancy myself,' said Lord Cadurcis, ' but I mil not 
speak of them now.' 

' Yes, now, George ; for indeed it is a satisfaction for 
me to speak of them, at least with you, with one who 
understood them so well, and loved them scarcely less than 
I did.' 

George tenderly put his arm into hers and led her away. 
As they walked along, he explained to her his plans, which 
yet were somewhat crude, but which greatly interested 
her ; but they were roused from their conversation by the 
bell of the hall sounding as if to summon them, and there- 
fore they directed their way immediately to the terrace. A 
servant running met them ; he brought a message from 

Lady Annabel. Their friend the Bishop of had 

arrived. 



CHAPTER III. 

my little daughter,' said the good Masham, 
advancing as Venetia entered the room, and tenderly 
embracing her. The kind-hearted old man maintained a 
conversation on indifferent subjects with animation for 
some minutes ; and thus a meeting, the anticipation of 
which would have cost Venetia hours of pain and anxiety, 
occurred with less uneasy feelings. 

Masham had hastened to Cherbury the moment he heard 
of the return of the Herberts to England. He did not 
come to console, but to enliven. He was well aware that 
even his eloquence, and all the influence of his piety, could 
not soften the irreparable past ; and knowing, from expe- 



VENETIA. 473 

rience, how in solitude the unhappy brood over sorrow, he 
fancied that his arrival, and perhaps his arrival only, might 
tend in some degree at this moment to their alleviation 
and comfort. He brought Lady Annabel and Venetia 
letters from their relations, with whom he had been staying 
at their country residence, and who were anxious that 
their unhappy kinsfolk should find change of scene under 
their roof. 

'They are very affectionate,' said Lady Annabel, 'but I 
rather think that neither Venetia nor myself feel inclined 
to quit Cherbury at present.' 

'Indeed .not, mamma,' said Venetia. 'I hope we shall 
never leave home again.' 

' You must come and see me some day,' said the Bishop ; 
then turning to George, whom he was glad to find here, he 
addressed him in a hearty tone, and expressed his delight 
at again meeting him. 

Insensibly to all parties this arrival of the good Masham 
exercised a beneficial influence on their spirits. They 
could sympathise with his cheerfulness, because they were 
convinced that he sympathised with their sorrow. His 
interesting conversation withdrew their minds from the 
painful subject on which they were always musing. It 
seemed profanation to either of the three mourners when 
they were together alone, to indulge in any topic but the 
absorbing one, and their utmost effort was to speak of the 
past with composure ; but they all felt relieved, though at 
first unconsciously, when one, whose interest in their 
feelings could not be doubted, gave the signal of with- 
drawing their reflections from vicissitudes which it was 
useless to deplore. Even the social forms which the 
presence of a guest rendered indispensable, and the 
exercise of the courtesies of hospitality, contributed to 
this result. They withdrew their minds from the past. 
And the worthy Bishop, whose tact was as eminent as his 
good humour and benevolence, evincing as much delicacy 
of feeling as cheerfulness of temper, a very few days had 



474 VENETIA. 

elapsed before each of his companions was aware that his 
presence had contributed to their increased content. 

* You have not been to the abbey yet, Lord Cadurcis,' 
said Masham to him one day, as they were sitting together 
after dinner, the ladies having retired. ' You should go.' 

' I have been unwilling to leave them,' said George, ' and 
I could scarcely expect them to accompany me. It is a 
visit that must revive painful recollections.' 

'We must not dwell on the past,' said Masham; 'we 
must think only of the future.' 

' Venetia has no future, I fear,' said Lord Cadurcis. 

' Why not ? ' said Masham ; ' she is yet a girl, and with a 
prospect of a long life. She must have a future, and I hope, 
and I believe, it will yet be a happy one.' 

' Alas ! ' said Lord Cadurcis, ' no one can form an idea 
of the attachment that subsisted between Plantagenet and 
Venetia. They were not common feelings, or the feelings 
of common minds, my dear lord.' 

' No one knew them both better than I did,' said 
Masham, 'not even yourself: they were my children.' 

' I feel that,' said George, ' and therefore it is a pleasure 
to us all to see you, and to speak with you.' 

' But we must look for consolation,' said Masham ; ' to 
deplore is fruitless. If we live, we must struggle to live 
happily. To tell you the truth, though their immediate 
return to Cherbury was inevitable, and their residence here 
for a time is scarcely to be deprecated, I still hope they 
will not bury themselves here. For my part, after the 
necessary interval, I wish to see Venetia once more in the 
world.' 

Lord Cadurcis looked very mournful, and shook his head. 

' As for her dear mother, she is habituated to sorrow and 
disappointment,' said Masham. ' As long as Venetia lives 
Lady Annabel will be content. Besides, deplorable as may 
be the past, there must be solace to her in the reflection 
that she was reconciled to her husband before his death, 
and contributed to his happiness. Venetia is the stricken 



VENETIA. 475 

lainb, but Venetia is formed for happiness, and it is in the 
nature of things that she will be happy. We must not, 
however, yield unnecessarily to our feelings. A violent 
exertion would be unwise, but we should habituate our- 
selves gradually to the exercise of our duties, and to our 
accustomed pursuits. It would be well for you to go to 
Cadurcis. If I were you I would go to-morrow. Take 
advantage of my presence, and return and give a report 
of your visit. Habituate Venetia to talk of a spot with 
which ultimately she must renew her intimacy*' 

Influenced by this advice, Lord Cadurcis rose early on 
the next morning and repaired to the seat of his fathers, 
where hitherto his foot had never trod. When the circle 
at Cherbury assembled at their breakfast table he was 
missing, and Masham had undertaken the office of apprising 
his friends of the cause of his absence. He returned to 
dinner, and the conversation fell naturally upon the abbey, 
and the impressions he had received. It was maintained 
at first by Lady Annabel and the Bishop, but Yenetia 
ultimately joined in it, and with cheerfulness. Many a 
trait and incident of former days was alluded to ; they 
talked of Mrs. Cadurcis, whom George had never seen ; 
they settled the chambers he should inhabit; they men- 
tioned the improvements which Plantagenet had once con- 
templated, and which George must now accomplish. 

' You must go to London first,' said the Bishop ; * you 
have a great deal to do, and you should not delay such 
business. I think you had better return with me. At this 
time of the year you need not be long absent ; you will not 
be detained ; and when you return, you will find yourself 
much more at ease ; for, after all, nothing is more 
harassing than the feeling, that there is business which 
must be attended to, and which, nevertheless, is neglected.' 

Both Lady Annabel and Venetia enforced this advice of 
their friend ; and so it happened that, ere a week had 
elapsed, Lord Cadurcis, accompanying Masham, found him- 
self once more in London. 



476 VENETIA. 



CHAPTER IV. 

VENETIA was now once more alone with her mother ; it was 
as in old times. Their life was the same as before the 
visit of Plantagenet previous to his going to Cambridge, 
except indeed that they had no longer a friend at Marring- 
hurst. They missed the Sabbath visits of that good man ; 
for, though his successor performed the duties of the day, 
which had been a condition when he was presented to the 
living, the friend who knew all the secrets of their hearts 
was absent. Venetia continued to bear herself with great 
equanimity, and the anxiety which she observed instantly 
impressed on her mother's countenance, the moment she 
fancied there was unusual gloom on the brow of her child, 
impelled Venetia doubly to exert herself to appear resigned. 
And in truth, when Lady Annabel revolved in her mind 
the mournful past, and meditated over her early and 
unceasing efforts to secure the happiness of her daughter, 
and then contrasted her aspirations with the result, she 
could not acquit herself of having been too often un- 
consciously instrumental in forwarding a very different 
conclusion than that for which she had laboured. This 
conviction preyed upon the mother, and the slightest 
evidence of reaction in Venetia's tranquilised demeanour 
occasioned her the utmost remorse and grief. The absence 
of George made both Lady Annabel and Venetia still more 
finely appreciate the solace of his society. Left to them- 
selves, they felt how much they had depended on his 
vigilant and considerate attention, and how much his sweet 
temper and his unfailing sympathy had contributed to 
their consolation. He wrote, however, to Venetia by every 
post, and his letters, if possible, endeared him still more 
to their hearts. Unwilling to dwell upon their mutual 
sorrows, yet always expressing sufficient to prove that 
distance and absence had not impaired his sympathy, he 



VENETIA. 477 

contrived, with infinite delicacy, even to amuse their 
solitude with the adventures of his life of bustle. The 
arrival of the post was the incident of the day ; and not 
merely letters arrived ; one day brought books, another 
music ; continually some fresh token of his thought and 
aifection reached them. He was, however, only a fortnight 
absent ; but when he returned, it was to Cadurcis. He 
called upon them the next day, and indeed every morning 
found him at Cherbury ; but he returned to his home at 
night ; and so, without an effort, from their guest he had 
become their neighbour. 

Plantagenet had left the whole of his property to his 
cousin : his mother's fortune, which, as an accessory fund, 
was not inconsiderable, besides the estate. And George 
intended to devote a portion of this to the restoration of 
the abbey. Venetia was to be his counsellor in this opera- 
tion, and therefore there were ample sources of amusement 
for the remainder of the year. On a high ridge, which was 
one of the beacons of the county, and which, moreover, 
marked the junction of the domains of Cherbury and 
Cadurcis, it was his intention to raise a monument to the 
united memories of Marmion Herbert and Plantagenet 
Lord Cadurcis. He brought down a design with him from 
London, and this was the project which he had previously 
whispered to Venetia. With George for her companion, 
too, Venetia was induced to resume her rides. It was her 
part to make him acquainted Avith the county in which he 
was so important a resident. Time therefore, at Cherbury, 
on the whole, flowed on in a tide of tranquil pleasure; 
and Lady Annabel observed, with interest and fondness, 
the continual presence beneath her roof of one who, 
from the first day she had met him, had engaged her 
kind feelings, and had since become intimately endeared 
to her. 

The end of November was, however, now approaching, 
and Parliament was about to reassemble. Masham had 
written more than once to Lord Cadurcis, impressing upon 



478 VENETIA. 

him the propriety and expediency of taking his seat. He 
had shown these letters, as he showed everything, to 
Venetia, who was his counsellor on all subjects, and 
Venetia agreed with their friend. 

' It is right,' said Venetia ; ' you have a duty to perform, 
and you. must perform it. Besides, I do not wish the name 
of Cadurcis to sink again into obscurity. I shall look forward 
with interest to Lord Cadurcis taking the oaths and his 
seat. It will please me ; it will indeed.' 

' But Venetia,' said Geerge, ' I do not like to leave this 
place. I am happy, if we may be happy. This life suits me. 
I am a quiet man. I dislike London. I feel alone there.' 

' You can write to us ; you will have a great deal to say. 
And I shall have something to say to you now. I must 
give you a continual report how they go on at the abbey. 
I will be your steward, and superintend everything.' 

' Ah ! ' said George, ' what shall I do in London without 
you, without your advice ? There will be something oc- 
curring every day, and I shall have no one to consult. 
Indeed I shall feel quite miserable ; I shall indeed.' 

' It is quite impossible that, with your station, and at 
your time of life, you should bury yourself in the country,' 
said Venetia. ' You have the whole world before you, and 
you must enjoy it. It is very well for mamma and myself 
to lead this life. I look upon ourselves as two nuns. If 
Cadurcis is an abbey, Cherbury is now a convent.' 

' How can a man wish to be more than happy ? I am quite 
content here,' said George. ' What is London to me ? ' 

' It may be a great deal to you, more than you think,' 
said Venetia. ' A great deal awaits you yet. However, 
there can be no doubt you should take your seat. You can 
always return, if you wish. But take your seat, and 
cultivate dear Masham. I have the utmost confidence in 
his wisdom and goodness. You cannot have a friend more 
respectable. Now mind my advice, George.' 

' I always do, Venefia.' 



VENETIA. 479 



CHAPTER V. 

TIME and Faith are the great consolers, and neither of 
these precious sources of solace were wanting to the 
inhabitants of Cherbury. They were again living alone, 
but their lives were cheerful ; and if Venetia no longer 
indulged in a worldly and blissful future, nevertheless, in 
the society of her mother, in the resources of art and 
literature, in the diligent discharge of her duties to her 
humble neighbours, and in cherishing the memory of the 
departed, she experienced a life that was not without its 
tranquil pleasures. She maintained with Lord Cadurcis a 
constant correspondence ; he wrote to her every day, and 
although they were separated, there was not an incident of 
his life, and scarcely a thought, of which she was not 
cognisant. It was with great difficulty that George could 
induce himself to remain in London ; but Masham, who 
soon obtained over him all the influence which Venetia 
desired, ever opposed his return to the abbey. The good 
Bishop was not unaware of the feelings with which Lord 
Cadurcis looked back to the hall of Cherbury, and himself 
of a glad and sanguine temperament, he indulged in a 
belief in the- consummation of all that happiness for which 
his young friend, rather sceptically, sighed. But Masham 
was aware that time could alone soften the bitterness of 
Venetia' s sorrow, and prepare her for that change of life 
which he felt confident would alone ensure the happiness 
both of herself and her mother. He therefore detained 
Lord Cadurcis in London the whole of the sessions that, 
on his return to Cherbury, his society might be esteemed a 
novel and agreeable incident in the existence of its inhabit- 
ants, and not be associated merely with their calamities. 

It was therefore about a year after the catastrophe which 
had so suddenly changed the whole tenor of their lives, and 
occasioned so unexpected a revolution in his own position, 
that Lord Cadurcis arrived at his ancestral seat, with no 



480 VENETIA. 

intention of again speedily leaving it. He had long and 
frequently apprised his friends of his approaching presence, 
and, arriving at the abbey late at night, he was at Cherbury 
early on the following morning. 

Although no inconsiderable interval had elapsed since 
Lord Cadurcis had parted from the Herberts, the continual 
correspondence that had been maintained between himself 
and Venetia, divested his visit of the slightest embarrass- 
ment. They met as if they had parted yesterday, except 
perhaps with greater fondness. The chain of their feelings 
was unbroken. He was indeed welcomed, both by Lady 
Annabel and her daughter, with warm affection ; and his ab- 
sence had only rendered him dearer to them by affording an 
opportunity of feeling how much his society contributed to 
their felicity. Venetia was anxious to know his opinion of 
the improvements at the abbey, which she had super- 
intended ; but he assured her that he would examine 
nothing without her company, and ultimately they agreed 
to walk over to Cadurcis. 

It was a summer day, and they walked through that 
very wood wherein we described the journey of the child 
Venetia, at the commencement of this very history. The 
blue patches of wild hyacinths had all disappeared, but 
there were flowers as sweet. What if the first feelings of 
our heart fade, like the first flowers of spring, succeeding 
years, like the coming summer, may bring emotions not 
less charming, and, perchance, far more fervent ! 

' I can scarcely believe,' said Lord Cadurcis, ' that I am 
once more with you. I know not what surprises me most, 
Venetia, that we should be walking once more together in 
the woods of Cherbury, or that I ever should have dared 
to quit them.' 

'And yet it was better, dear George,' said Venetia. 
' You must now rejoice that you have fulfilled your duty, 
and yet you are here again. Besides, the abbey never 
would have been finished if you had remained. To complete 
all our plans, it required a mistress.' 



VENETIA. 481 

' I wish it always liad one,' said George. ' Ah, Vcnetia ! 
once you told me never to despair.' 

' And what have you to despair about, George ? ' 

' Heigh ho ! ' said Lord Cadurcis, ' I never shall be able 
to live in this abbey alone.' 

'You should have brought a wife from London,' said 
Venetia. 

' I told you once, Venetia, that I was not a marrying 
man,' said Lord Cadurcis ; ' and certainly I never shall 
bring a wife from London.' 

' Then you cannot accustom yourself too soon to a 
bachelor's life,' said Venetia. 

' Ah, Venetia ! ' said George, ' I wish I were clever ; I 
wish I were a genius ; I wish I were a great man.' 

' Why, George ? ' 

' Because, Venetia, perhaps,' and Lord Cadurcis hesitated, 
' perhaps you would think differently of me ? I mean 
perhaps your feelings towards me might ; ah, Venetia ! 
perhaps you might think me worthy of you ; perhaps you 
might love me.' 

I am sure, dear George, if I did not love you, I should 
be the most ungrateful of beings : you are our only friend.' 

' And can I never be more than a friend to you, Venetia? ' 
said Lord Cadurcis, blushing very deeply. 

' I am sure, dear George, I should be very sorry for your 
sake, if you wished to be more,' said Venetia. 

' Why ? ' said Lord Cadurcis. 

4 Because I should not like to see you unite your destiny 
with that of a very unfortunate, if not a very unhappy, 
person.' 

' The sweetest, the loveliest of women ! ' said Lord 
Cadurcis. ' O Venetia ! I dare not express what I feel, 
still less what I could hope. I think so little of myself, so 
highly of you, that I am convinced my aspirations are too 
arrogant for me to breathe them.' 

' Ah ! dear George, you deserve to be happy,' said 
Venetia. ' Would that it were in my power to make you ! ' 

1 1 



482 VENETIA. 

' Dearest Venetia ! it is, it is,' exclaimed Lord Cadurcis ; 
then checking himself, as if frightened by his boldness, he 
added in a more subdued tone, ' I feel I am not worthy of 
you.' 

They stood upon the breezy down that divided the 
demesnes of Cherbury and the abbey. Beneath them rose, 
'embosomed in a valley of green bowers,' the ancient pile 
lately renovated under the studious care of Venetia. 

' Ah ! ' said Lord Cadurcis, ' be not less kind to the 
master of these towers, than to the roof that you have 
fostered. You have renovated our halls, restore our 
happiness ! There is an union that will bring consolation 
to more than one hearth, and baffle all the crosses of adverse 
fate. Venetia, beautiful and noble-minded Venetia, con- 
descend to fulfil it ! ' 

Perhaps the reader will not be surprised that, within a 
few months of this morning walk, the hands of George, 
Lord Cadurcis, and Venetia Herbert were joined in the 
chapel at Cherbury by the good Masham. Peace be with 
them. 



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price 28*. 

HISTORY of the RISE and INFLUENCE of the SPIRIT 

of RATIONALISM in Europe. By W. E. H. LECKY, M.A. Cabinet Edition, 
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